[ed-Seth: Thanks again to Matt Gase, Michigan grad and CEO of Eat Well Embrace Life, for contributing the chips and hummus and pop to our tailgate last week:
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) October 1, 2016
If Joe ever lets me do a recipe I’ll share the details, but this week I sautéed beef tips, mushrooms, onions, garlic and peppers, put them in a bowl with half a tub of the yellow lentil hummus, and then cut a pita into wedges we used to scoop it. Unbelievably good!]
[Joe is new at this so go easy on him despite his un-American use of vertical framing]
When I think of Rutgers, I think of tow things. First off, the greatness of The Sopranos. Man, I miss that show! Did Tony get it in the end or did he live happily ever after? The second thing is the pizza. I love brick oven, thin crust pizza. Is that just a New York thing or a New Jersey thing as well? Anyway, I’ve been hankerin’ for a thin crust pie and this week is a perfect time to toss one on the stone and use up some of my leftover smoked meats for toppings.
- Pizza Dough – Store bought or Pizza shop
- BBQ Sauce – Lane’s “Kinda Sweet” Sauce
- Chopped or Pulled Brisket or Barbacoa from last week
- Mozzarella Cheese or Mozzarella and cheddar mix
- Corn Meal or Semolina Flour
[After the JUMP: Fun for the whole tailgate]
|WHERE||Cable Subscribers Stadium
October 8th, 2016
|THE LINE||Michigan –29.5|
|WEATHER||overcast, mid 60s
slight chance of rain
HAHAHAHA!!!! Now there are 'R's all over your field! Now you have to pick them up! The Era of Rutgers is at hand! pic.twitter.com/h0ruuAQuvV
— Mr. Dubs (@rockydubs85) June 8, 2016
Rutgers has been hammered 48-13 by Washington and 58-0 by OSU this year. The beatings will continue even if they managed to hang close with Iowa.
Run Offense vs Rutgers
Hamilton: now DT sized. Still very good.
This is a spot at which it's difficult to reconcile PFF's grading and Bill Connelly's fancystats with regular old numbers. Run defense is a relative strong point for the Cable Subscribers—38th in S&P+—for reasons that are obscure. They did hold Washington to three yards a carry in the opener. Unfortunately for them, things have gotten steadily worse since: 3.9 YPC for Howard, 5.2 for New Mexico, 5.1 for Iowa, and finally 7.7 for Ohio State. At this rate they'll be giving up 15 yards a carry by the end of the season. They're 13th in the Big Ten in YPA allowed, one one-hundredth of a yard in front of Purdue.
Meanwhile, Ace points out that the Washington stats are deceiving:
Washington put up 24 points in the first quarter, added a kickoff return touchdown in the second, and basically closed up shop—their two second-half scores were on punt and interception returns. While the Huskies were able to throw at will—an even ten yards per attempt—they managed only 100 yards on 28 non-sack carries.
So the S&P number has some explaining to do.
Anyway: PFF likes their defensive line quite a bit. Darius Hamilton, their star DE/DT, is still around. He's grading out as a plus player against both run and pass, very much so on the ground. They rotate seven defensive linemen even after DE Quanzell Lambert got knocked out for the year. PFF thinks three of them are good to very good and one is about average; even if the other three guys aren't so great this is better than you'd expect for a team that's struggled so much in plain old yards per carry.
By way of explanation, PFF hammers all three starting linebackers. Trevor Morris, Deonte Roberts, and Greg Jones all carry significantly negative grades; they're positive in coverage, generally, and bad to very bad on the ground. No one on this defense touches the astoundingly poor grades for the offense, but nonetheless that LB level is a major liability and one Michigan is well-suited to exploit with their various misdirection plays. Compounding matters was a helmet-to-helmet hit Jones took from Morris last week. He is unlikely to play.
Hamilton will pose problems for the interior of the line. He is good enough to disrupt plays on his own, and he's apparently surrounded by some other guys who can play a bit. While this figures to be a walkover, there's a significant chance the ground game looks iffy, at least until someone pops through the line and nobody's there to clean up. Could be a day where a bunch of disappointing gains are offset by multiple romps for 30+ yards.
KEY MATCHUP: WHOEVER THE NEW GUY IS versus A SENSE OF RISING PANIC. Whether it's Kugler or Bushell-Beatty who draws into the lineup all eyes will be on him in an attempt to discover how boned we are thanks to the Newsome injury.
[Hit THE JUMP for OH MAN THIS LINE against MICHIGAN'S DL is a THING I SAY EVERY WEEK NOW]
Michigan’s win over Wisconsin wasn’t put away until Jourdan Lewis executed one of the more dramatic and insanely athletic interceptions most of us will ever see, but the stats show that it should have been over sooner. That won’t come as a shock—if you watched you’re probably thinking of the missed field goals right now—but it does reinforce how good Michigan’s defense is.
Even the most basic stats hint heavily at the defense’s dominance. Wisconsin only ran 53 plays for a paltry 154 yards, or 2.91 yards per play. Michigan’s offense fared far better, running 80 plays for 339 yards, or 4.24 per play. As Jedd Fisch noted this week, no team has crested 330 yards of offense against Wisconsin since the 2015 Alabama game. Not a bad yardage total against a defense that’s still ranked fifth in S&P+.
It’s not all sunshine and roses (or lipstick-shaped trophies), though. Michigan had six scoring opportunities to Wisconsin’s three, but both walked away with 2.33 points per scoring opportunity. Michigan was averaging 6.3 points per trip inside the 40; drives bogging down and missed field goals knocked the points per scoring opportunity number down to below a field goal for the game.
We don’t yet know whether the missed field goals were an aberration or the new, hand-over-the-eyes, college-kickery normal, but it’s relatively clear that Michigan’s offense on the whole did well against one of the best defenses in the nation. Michigan’s offensive Success Rate was 40%, which must have been like a walk in the park for Speight and co. compared to Wisconsin’s offense’s 21%. Wisconsin’s defense is superb; Michigan’s defense is a black hole.
[After THE JUMP: how a low-scoring day impacted the fancy stats]
About Last Week:
The Road Ahead:
Rutgers (2-3, 0-2 B1G)
Last week: Lost at Ohio State, 58-0
Recap: Little known fact: “recap” is short for “recapitulation.” And this is fitting, because Rutgers capitulated over and over again on Saturday.
They capitulated on offense, gaining 116 yards at 2.1 yards per play. They capitulated on defense, surrendering 669 yards at 7.5 yards per play (including 410 rushing yards at 7.7 YPC). They capitulated on special teams, returning 8 kickoffs for an average of 12.4 yards per return.
Rutgers is among the worst teams in the country. But we already knew this.
This team is as frightening as:
NOTE: So, last week I made a Punch-Out reference, and people demanded more. So this week, the Fear Levels are based on old-school video game enemies.
Goomba: self-explanatory. Fear Level = 1.5
Michigan should worry about: Stranger things have happened. That’s the thing you say when there’s no way this strange thing is happening, right? It’s like saying, “yeah, I probably won’t make this 80-foot putt… but remember that time that guy fired the space-torpedo into the Womp Rat-wide vent thing while dudes were shooting lasers at him? Stranger things have happened.”
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Rutgers is #99 or worse in S&P+’s rankings for Explosiveness, Efficiency, Field Position, and Finishing Drives. So, they start a long way from the end zone, they can’t get there quickly, they can’t get there slowly, and even if they get near it they can’t get the rest of the way.
When they play Michigan: NSFW.
This week: vs. Michigan, 7:00, ESPN2 (Michigan -28)
[AFTER THE JUMP: One of Michigan's opponents is statistically certain to go 11-1]
[Melanie Maxwell, The Ann Arbor News]
They were at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated, now-air conditioned IM building. The sound isn’t great.
Part 1: Wisconsin
- That was the game when missing field goals really hurts—get Wisconsin behind and M’s defensive line can tee off.
- Hornibrook turtling was emblematic of the game, and Michigan’s much improved lane integrity. Taco helps.
- 350 yards against a very good defense is fine. Isaac and Smith had good games.
- Was Michigan’s offense elite by the end of last year, or was Florida just mailing it in?
Part 2: David Siegle, IM director and NCAA official
- David Siegle, headmaster of intramural sports, talks about the IM building renovations.
- What’s a catch? What is targeting? Mostly the coaches are making the rules, and they want to avoid head injuries. Officials with the cameras are weirdly not applying this rule.
- The Newsome knee-cut: maybe 5 years from now there will be either no cut blocks or just OL right after the snap.
Part 3: Mr. and Mrs. Sam Webb
- Rutgers had 116 yards against Ohio State and lost 59-0. With the home field advantage flipped that should be 130 yards and 52-0.
- Mrs. Webb works at the IM building. Sam used to get kicked and elbowed for snoring, then he got drugged.
- Another 9 minutes of Sam talking that I want it to be known I didn’t listen to, Mrs. Webb.
THE USUAL LINKS
Previously: Rutgers Offense
in coverage: RU's top-graded player in their back seven.
After looking at the more recent OSU game for the offense post, I switched to Washington for the defense because OSU's and Michigan's offenses are so dissimilar.
It probably didn't matter. Does anything matter?
via The Mathlete. bottom left is good, top right is bad.
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
Rutgers's second-best defensive lineman, DE Quanzell Lambert, was lost for the season in the Iowa game, and SLB Greg Jones suffered a scary injury after a helmet-to-helmet collision against OSU—he's out and may be done playing football. Their season-opening starter at free safety, Saquon Hampton, went down in the Washington game; his replacement, Kiy Hester, got dinged up last week and is questionable for Saturday. Hampton is reportedly ready to return to the lineup this week, so we've penciled him in as the starter.
Base Set? 4-3. Since Rutgers is a heavy quarters team—Chris Ash was OSU's defensive coordinator before coming to RU this year—they don't bring on a nickel as often as many teams; their safeties are responsible for the slot receivers if they go deep, and they'll shade the SLB over the slot to cover underneath stuff.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
SPONSOR NOTES: Also at the Marlin tailgate I met a guy who had refinanced with Matt and was now hanging out with him pregame, because they're buds. I didn't judge. Maybe I judged a little.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent a lot of time in this formation:
Line is shifted to the TE so that's an over set. Peppers is overhanging the TE. Two deep safeties, press coverage.
They'd also put Peppers inside the end. I called that "4-3 bear".
PERSONNEL NOTES: Wisconsin's manball and constant three and outs caused some shifts in the DL snap distribution. Charlton played every snap—although there were just 53. Wormley and Glasgow were close behind with around 40; Godin and Hurst just about split the other DT spot. Gary (13 snaps), Mone (7), and Winovich(2) rounded out the rotation. Mone's just getting back, obviously; the other two are either freshmen getting their first taste of manball in a game situation or much lighter than alternatives.
The back seven starters never came off the field except for a few dime packages without McCray. Watson(7 snaps) and Kinnel(3) got a little bit of PT on passing downs as extra DBs.
[After THE JUMP: this QB got shook]
He left room for help, but Alex Kile returns as Michigan's lone 30+-point scorer [Rapai/MGoBlog]
I don't think it will get picked as the slogan for the student section t-shirt, but if you plan to refer to the 2016-17 hockey season as "the season of cognitive dissonance," you're not wrong. After watching a team with one of the most potent offenses in the country three of the last four seasons, Michigan loses five of the their top-six wingers and their two most offensively productive defensemen. The cavalry isn't exactly arriving in the form of the freshmen class, as Michigan will add productive lower-line players but no phenom in the Kyle Connor/Dylan Larkin mold.
All, however, is not lost. The aforementioned group of freshmen should be ready to play immediately, and by all accounts the majority of them should provide solid two-way help. Alex Kile appears ready to handle an increased scoring burden, and MIchigan’s deeper and more talented on defense than they’ve been in years; with eight that could justifiably be in the lineup every night, the blueliners should be the backbone of this team.
Red Berenson doesn't have the task in front of him that he thought he would when he decided to come back for one more season. Instead of having to find a winger to complement JT Compher and Tyler Motte's scoring prowess and near-telepathic connection he has to find a brand new top half of the lineup. The entire first power play unit needs to be replaced. Steve Racine, who finally found his groove as a starter in 2015-16 thanks to goaltending coach Steve Shields, is gone. Berenson will need to take the talent he's been given and mold it; he has a bit of head start with the incoming freshmen, as most scouting reports laud their defensive responsibility more than their offensive prowess. There will be games you'll sit down and watch this season and recognize almost nothing aside from the "M" on the front of the sweater. That's fine. If this team can reinvent its identity in an offseason, if it can eschew wide-open play for tighter defensive coverage, then they can contend in the Big Ten.
[After THE JUMP: position group previews, a new stats project, and the season outlook]
Melo Trimble [Rob Carr – Getty]
Since joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season, Maryland has been one of the league’s best teams; the Terps have gone 26-10 in two years of Big Ten play and were a five- and a four-seed in trips to the NCAA Tournament – even though Mark Turgeon hadn’t had much success in his first three years in College Park, all in the ACC. Point guard Melo Trimble has been instrumental in the turnaround; even though he regressed as a sophomore, he was the leader of an impressive five-man unit: Trimble, transfers Rasheed Suliamon and Robert Carter, versatile senior Jake Layman, and 5* big man Diamond Stone.
Last year started well for UMD as they had a 21-3 record after beating Purdue in February (maybe their best win), with all three losses coming on the road – to North Carolina, Michigan, and Michigan State. They slid some towards the end of the season – in particular, an awful road loss to Minnesota may have hurt their NCAA seeding – and eventually finished 12-6 in the Big Ten, in a four-way tie for third place. They came close to upsetting Michigan State in the second round of the Big Ten tournament, but didn’t – and they beat a 13-seed and a 12-seed to make it to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Kansas, one of the best teams in the country.
There’s a nagging sense that they underachieved though. In terms of the hierarchy of the conference, they were a decidedly second-tier team; Trimble’s 3-point % and FT Rate dropped starkly; and there always the lingering feeling that the Terps’ killer five-man unit was somehow noticeably less than the sum of its parts. More than anything though, the bench offered little depth or flexibility – Trimble was the only PG and the wings couldn’t provide shooting or the minutes to go small with Carter at the five, which could have perhaps unleashed a devastating offensive lineup.
With the departures of four of the five key players for Maryland, there’s a good chance that they will take a step backwards. Trimble coming back saved them from slipping further and perhaps he will be better in a more focal role. Additionally, there’s a host of newcomers that could potentially make an impact and improve the team’s depth, but there will probably be some pretty glaring holes in the rotation. Right now, this seems like a team with a decent ceiling, though it’s fair to question how good the odds are that they approach that level.
[More on the Terps after the JUMP]
Can you assess Wilton’s play through five games?
“He’s doing a nice job. He’s making really good decisions, which is obviously the first thing you look for in a guy who’s in his first year starting. Hasn’t turned the ball over very much at all, so that’s exciting. Has found ways to complete balls—he’s over 64% or so—and really good touchdown:interception ratio, and has managed the game really well. So, so far, so good.
“But the next half of the season will be another test. You know, he hasn’t been on the road yet, so that’ll be obviously different. And then we’ve just got a chance to continue to see how he improves.”
He’ll often talk about a play that you’ve dialed up that week and you can see that he likes the creativity. Talk about that side of the job, looking for something new every week or periodically that could be a good play for you.
“I think we’re just—we’re always gameplanning every week, every day. Every day we gameplan and put together the best possible pass game and run game we can, and then, you know, try to deliver it in a way they understand why the plays are in, and then maybe show them examples of plays where whether or not they’ve worked other places or whether or not they’ve worked here or whether it looks like they’ll work based on the coverages we get. Spend a lot of time just kind of explaining in our meetings—all position groups, all coaches—why plays are in and how to go out there and execute them.”
Some of the protection issues with veterans at times: are those mistakes guys shouldn’t be making at this point?
“I think that I don’t know much about whether we should or shouldn’t be making them. I don’t think there’s many being made. I think we’re still—well, we’ve only been sacked in five games eight times or nine times. I don’t know. That’s not much. We do a really good job of picking up almost everything. We get the kitchen sink thrown at us and our guys work really, really hard to pick it all up, and over the course of 17 games or so we’ve probably been as good as anyone in terms of not getting sacked and getting the ball off, so I don’t think there’s much of an issue there.”
When Jabrill’s working in the wildcat, are you hands-on with him in practice there, or who has the most input?
“Oh, with everything, it’s a group collective effort in everything that we do. You know, the wildcat stuff, we throw him in and quarterback roll, then he kind of deals with some of the ball handling with us, but really kind of everybody’s talking to him about what that job entails and what plays we’re putting in and really what he’s going to do with those plays and the footwork and the reads and all that.”
[Much more after THE JUMP]