Peppers at 10, which seems low.
Formation notes: Michigan debuted something sort of like Gator Heavy:
This isn't different personnel than the shotgun 2TE set that Denard scored on to beat Notre Dame but deploying the two TEs as H-backs gives Michigan added flexibility and unpredictability in the run game. I called this "Shotgun 2H," since if I did call it Wolverine Heavy I'd have to come up with something else if and when we see a formation that adds McColgan or Brandon Moore to the mix by taking one of the WRs off the field. Wolverine Super Heavy? Wolverine Weis*?
Other than that it wasn't too exciting. Bowling Green stuck with base personnel the whole game, deployed a ton of eight-man fronts either by alignment or a safety walking down before the snap, and played way more man than any previous opponent. You can see their "base 4-4," as I called it, above. Here's what I called "nickel 4-3," as the slot LB is way outside the box:
This almost always saw a safety walk down, FWIW, and often had the nickel LB blitz for contain.
Substitution notes: You know all about the carousel of incredibly dangerous quarterbacks. Lewan started at left tackle and Huyge did not get in until Dorrestein came off with a slight injury. On the last series before Michigan sent in the backups, Barnum replaced Schilling at left guard.
At tailback, Shaw and Smith remained the starters with Hopkins getting the first non-those-guys opportunities. When he fumbled it was back to the starters for a while, then Cox, then Toussaint, then Teric Jones. With Shaw and Toussaint "doubtful" for Indiana per RR, Hopkins and Cox are poised to get more first-team opportunities against Indiana.
At wide receiver, the usual rotation with less Terrence Robinson and more Jeremy Gallon.
*(Fairly indifferent to you at this point, xoxo.)
On with show:
|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||Inside zone||Smith||5|
|Lewan starts at LT. BG slants a bit and the backside DT gets into the A gap past Schilling; Omameh tripped and so the frontside doesn?t look to good; Smith(+1) cuts it back behind Schilling. DE is moving laterally down the line and is in good position until Shaw pops him backwards, allowing Smith to snake his way for decent yardage. Lewan clamped onto a LB downfield, FWIW. He was not blocking for the cutback so it didn't really matter.|
|M25||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Rollout quick out||Roundtree||7|
|Man coverage so Roundtree has plenty of room working against a safety. Robinson seems a little late on this but this is not a good D and it doesn't matter; Roundtree has time to catch and cut back inside past the safety overrunning the play to pick up some YAC and a first down. (CA,3, protection 1/1)|
|M32||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||5|
|BG flowing hard, so Molk and Omameh have no chance of scooping the playside DT; Omameh ends up taking him and riding him down the line; Shaw stands up a LB in the playside B gap. Molk(+1) sees what's going on and adjusts, picking off the MLB as he shoots up into the gap and giving Smith(+1) a crease he finds and hits. Schilling(-1) could do nothing with the backside DT, who did a good job of not getting sealed and makes a diving tackle just as Smith looks to be off to the races.|
|RUN+: Molk, Smith||RUN-: Schilling|
|M37||2||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Corner||Roundtree||35|
|BG has been putting their DBs in man on Michigan receivers and being very aggressive up front so Michigan goes after it, running a hitch/corner combo that opens up as Roundtree gets his man turned and ends up with yards of separation. Robinson reads it and pulls up on his roll, hitting Roundtree in the numbers. This was pretty easy but I usually DO any long pass that's right on the money and this is a 30-yarder to the edge of the field that could not be thrown better. (DO, 3, protection 1/1, RPS +2)|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||12|
|Similar to the last stretch but to the other side: playside BG DT does not get sealed and neither does the backside guy. I'm not minusing either G here because they do control their guys well enough; neither manages any penetration. Molk(-1) whiffs on the MLB, though, and he's through on Shaw. Shaw(+1) runs through a tackle, then spins through another one(+2) past four BG defenders, stumbling his way for a first down. Lewan(+1) engaged the DE, who then attempted to shuck him upfield; Lewan was off balance for a moment but maintained contact and finished the kickout, providing a large amount of space for Shaw to operate in. Smith isn't getting a plus but I appreciate his instinct to bash the DT flowing past Schilling; too often in these situations under Carr guys just ran by and problems resulted.|
|RUN+: Shaw(3), Lewan||RUN-: Molk|
|O16||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB power||Robinson||9|
|A down G scheme where Koger and Dorrestein block down on the playside DL and Omameh pulls around to the outside. Omameh(+1) has the agility to wall off the MLB, who charges outside to force Robinson back into safety help; Molk(+1) got out on the WLB, providing a ton of space that Robinson hits it up into. This was the GTFO play.|
|RUN+: Molk, Omameh, Robinson, Koger||RUN-:|
|O7||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Dive||Shaw||3|
|A power look with Lewan and Schilling doubling the backside DT; Molk and Omameh double the playside DT. Koger kicks out a DE and this leaves the WLB unblocked. Schilling(+1) peels off the double to get a shove on the MLB blazing into the picture, giving Shaw a spot to cut up behind Lewan, who's burying a dead donkey. A note: I try to keep +/- about in line with how good a play was; as the field compresses I get more generous since a two-yard run from the six is much better than a two yard run from the 50.|
|RUN+: Schilling, Lewan||RUN-:|
|O4||1||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||2|
|Omameh(+1) gets under one DT and kicks him out. Schilling gets a good shove on the BG DT but doesn't seal him away; there is still a big gap right up the middle. Molk again lets the MLB by him but I think that's partially on Schilling not getting his block exactly right. I won't minus Schilling because he did hit this guy back far enough that it's still two yards in a situation when you do that twice and you get a TD.|
|O2||2||G||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||2|
|BG actually does a good job of coming underneath the blocks on to the playside but in doing so they just open up the outside, which Robinson(+1) reads, using his agility to walk in.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 12 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M12||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA circle||Grady||9|
|This curl-flat combo was picture paged against ND. It looks like BGSU is running almost all man here, so the guy covering this is the safety. He is nowhere near the LOS when the play starts so it's a fairly simple read for Denard to see the open guy and hit him. Grady turns upfield for some YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M21||2||1||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||24|
|Hopkins in. Schilling(+1) locks out his DT; Omameh(+1) locks on to his guy and starts driving him downfield, which is important because the BGSU LB is attacking the LOS. Hopkins(+1) gets a good block on him but the quick reaction and Molk(-1) missing another LB means Robinson can't cut it behind Omameh's excellent block but has to hit up the small crease Hopkins has provided. Second level and more because of excellent blocks from Stonum(+1) and Grady(+1).|
|RUN+: Schilling, Omameh, Hopkins, Grady, Stonum, Robinson||RUN-: Molk|
|M45||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flanker screen||Hemingway||7|
|Hemingway is the outside WR; the other two guys attempt to get him blocks, with Roundtree doing okay since the BGSU CB attempts to go inside of him, opening up the outside and a good gain. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O48||2||3||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||Belly||Hopkins||2|
|Correct handoff(ZR+1) as BGS blitzes from the backside, getting two guys in unblocked. Hopkins is immediately tackled by the second guy, falling forward for a couple. (RPS -1)|
|RUN+: N/A||RUN-: N/A|
|O46||3||1||Shotgun 2TE||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||QB stretch||Robinson||46|
|Schilling(-1) does not get a seal again and this time his guy shoots into the backfield, which is bad. Robinson(-1) misses a pretty obvious cut since Omameh(+1) had sealed the backside DT and there was a crease up the middle. He heads outside, running past both Schilling's guy and a charging linebacker, then stopping on the sideline for a safety to overrun him and slide to the ground. He leaps past a tackle attempt from a corner and is then into the open field, at which point it's academic. Points to Dorrestein, Stonum, and Webb for getting downfield blocks that assured no BG players had angles. Oh, yeah: Robinson +4. BWS picture-pages.|
|RUN+: Robinson(3), Webb, Dorrestein, Omameh, Stonum||RUN-: Schilling|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-0, 9 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M9||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||QB lead draw||Robinson||42|
|BG slanting again; this time Molk(+1) realizes it and starts a combo block with Schilling on the backside DT, bashing him downfield; Omameh(+1) seals the playside guy. Schilling(+1) peels off the combo to take out the WLB and there's a big hole; Smith is one on one with the MLB and gets a hat on the guy; hole is big enough for Robinson to move through it. Robinson(+2) then smoothly jukes a safety down in the box and is off, getting great downfield blocks from Odoms(+1) and Grady(+1); the last guy has an angle and tackles him as Robinson crosses the 50. Robinson bangs his knee and is done for the day.|
|RUN+: Robinson(2), Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Odoms, Grady||RUN-:|
|O49||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||1|
|Gardner in. Correct read(ZR+1) as the DE crashes down and there's no one scraping over, but instead of slamming it upfield into acres of space he cuts outside and gets tackled by the cornerbacks.|
|O48||2||9||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||PA fly||Stonum||35|
|Stonum(+2, though I don't track this) smokes the corner with a great double move, getting yards of separation. There is no deep safety. Gardner has okay protection and launches it deep but the ball is well underthrown, forcing Stonum to cut back and haul it in underneath. This is something Stonum could not do last year; he's made a leap. Some part of the throw ending up short was Dorrestein(-1) letting his guy in on Gardner, shortening his release. Still... (MA, 2, protection 2/3, Dorrestein -1)|
|O13||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||2|
|Incorrect read since the crashing DE is not the guy to read since Shaw is going to cut him; it's the scrape backer who keeps contain. Gardner is run down from behind by a late blitzer who came free and either would have nailed Smith in the backfield if the handoff was made or (more likely) run right by him and given Smith a good shot at a TD. (RPS -1)|
|O11||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Gallon||11|
|Just man on the edge and Gallon's guy is ten yards off the LOS so unless he tears at this immediately he's not in great shape; he does not. Hemingway(+1) blocks his corner into the sideline, leaving Gallon(+1) one on one with the safety, who he beats for a touchdown. (CA, 3, screen)|
|RUN+: Gallon, Hemingway||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-0, 4 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M26||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Run||Belly||Hopkins||4|
|Slot LB is the contain and is tearing downhill so probably a correct handoff despite the DE crashing on Hopkins (ZR +1, RPS -1). Hopkins(+1) does well to carry the tackler four yards.|
|M30||2||6||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Run||PA circle||Roundtree||5|
|Same play as earlier; BG again in man and the safety too far away to effectively combat this, overrunning the play. Roundtree cuts past him but slips as he goes and stumbles short of the sticks when he had an opportunity to pick up a lot of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M35||3||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Hopkins||7|
|Omameh(+1) latches onto and controls one DT with help from Molk(+1), who then pops off and whacks the MLB. Schilling and Lewan double the other guy and handle him, though really they should. Hopkins slams it up in the crease, picking up the first down and a bit more.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Molk, Schilling, Lewan||RUN-:|
|M42||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Hopkins||19|
|The classic stretch we haven't really seen much of this year. Molk(+2) and Omameh(+2) execute a textbook scoop block, which seals the playside DT and dooms BG. This is tough to do and they make this look easy. After they seal the guy Molk crushes him backwards and Omameh peels off to batter the MLB; Webb(+1) kicks out another LB and Schilling(+1) successfully delays the backside LB with a cut; Lewan(+1) cut the backside DE. Essentially everyone on the OL except Dorrestein dominated his man on this play, and Dorrestein still did a good job of kicking out the DE. Hopkins has huge lanes to hit, which he does, running through an arm tackle and into the secondary. (Run+: Molk(2), Omameh(2), Schilling, Webb, Lewan.)|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||4|
|BG slants under the blocking, which gives M trouble as Omameh and Dorrestein are split on the backside and Molk and Schilling have a tough time with the playside DT. The latter guys do get their guy under control but do not get out on LBs; Omameh(-1) does not help seal the other guy and he comes through Dorrestein. Dorrestein avoids a minus for pushing the guy beyond the play; allowing Smith(+1) to cut behind it and pick up an excellent edge block from Hopkins(+1) to pick up a few.|
|RUN+: Hopkins, Smith||RUN-: Omameh|
|O35||2||6||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Hopkins||-2|
|Well, first Michigan gets a deserved chop block call as Schilling(-1) engages with the backside DT and then Lewan chops him. I blame Schilling since Lewan had this guy. On the frontside BG again slants under, this time getting past Molk(-2) and Omameh(-1), leaving Hopkins facing down two guys in the backfield. He gets hit and fumbles. Fumbles are not a part of the run tracking.|
|RUN+:||RUN-: Schilling, Omameh, Molk(2)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 21-0, 1 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M24||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||9|
|Gardner should have pulled with a TE coming to block the backside DE and Lewan moving out on the WLB (ZR -1). Schilling doesn't get a seal but manages to control his guy enough that he can't make a play in the backfield. With an unblocked linebacker coming up into the playside B gap the cutback's where it's at. BG DE does a good job of flowing down the line and cutting it off but Koger(+1) gets enough of him to provide Smith(+1) a window behind him; Lewan has engaged the WLB and though he ends up playside Lewan just donkeys him to the ground, giving Smith another cutback lane he takes; a safety fills at this point.|
|RUN+: Smith, Koger, Lewan||RUN-: Gardner|
|M33||2||1||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||11|
|Lewan(+1) gets a face-planting cut block on the backside DT, leaving him crumbled on the ground. On the frontside Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) get a good scoop on the playside guy; Omameh pops out on a LB. BG brought a safety down late and has a guy in the gap, though, as Webb got caught up in some wash and can't get out front. Because of the Lewan cut, though, there's a huge cutback lane. Schilling(+1) gets a shove on the WLB and Smith has a lane, leaving a guy over the slot receiver to recover and tackle. Handoff was correct (ZR +1).|
|RUN+: Lewan, Molk, Schilling, Omameh, Smith||RUN-:|
|M44||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||3|
|Should hand off with the DE maintaining responsibility; this is compounded by a safety filling fast, leaving three guys out on Gardner with no shot for him to do much (ZR-1).|
|M47||2||7||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||PA Fly||Gardner||Inc|
|MICH obviously pissed about all this cover zero safety nonsense, so they go deep. Gardner sets up in the pocket and this time the pocket is excellent. He lays one out to Hemingway, who's got a step on the DB; DB falls; ball hits Hemingway in the hands at the ten... dropped. Breastonian. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M47||3||7||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Post||Gardner||53 (pen + 2)|
|Gardner knows he has Grady on a linebacker and goes right to him, feathering a ball on a post route that fits perfectly in a window between that LB and the safety, who takes a terrible angle and turns a big gainer into a touchdown. Molk gets it called back for whacking some guy. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M49||3||5||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Slant||Hemingway||16|
|Zone this time; double slants to one side of the field. Roundtree's interior slant drags a defender and opens up Hemingway's; Gardner nails it for the first down. Finally. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA circle||Gallon||Inc|
|BG prepared for this after seeing it a few times and blitzes into it, getting a guy in free(RPS -1). Gardner has an opportunity to make a play but his pass is inaccurate as he gets hit as he throws. Still think his delivery gets poor when he's under duress. I am going to mark this IN because the ball is out before he gets hit. (IN, 0, protection 0/2, team, RPS -1)|
|O35||2||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3-||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||3|
|BG again slanting under blocks. Lewan(+1) does an excellent job to react to it, latch onto the guy, and shove him out of the RB's path, giving Shaw a lane with Koger(+1) kicking out a blitzing LB. Schilling blocks a linebacker on the second level but Dorrestein(-1) could not do anything with the WLB, who flows down the line and tackles. RPS -1.|
|RUN+: Lewan, Koger||RUN-: Dorrestein|
|O32||3||7||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flare screen||Shaw||2|
|Great read by one of the BG DTs, who takes off after Omameh as soon as he feels him release. A safety is screaming down past blockers as well but while this play looks grim Shaw might have a cutback lane for big yardage if the DT(!) isn't quick enough to get out there and tackle him from behind. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O30||4||5||Shotgun empty||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Drag||Hemingway||Inc|
|Zone behind a four-man rush; Gardner cannot find anything and tries to hit Hemingway on a drag. He is between two guys, and one of them almost intercepts. Very poor decision since he was short of the sticks anyway. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 21-7, 4 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M31||1||10||Shotgun trips||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Flanker screen||Odoms||2|
|Tate in. TRobinson(-1) gets chucked by the guy he's blocking and Roundtree(-1) whiffs on a cut, leaving Odoms dealing with two guys and no blocks. He gets what he can. (CA, 3, screen)|
|RUN+:||RUN-: Roundtree, TRob|
|M33||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||0|
|TRobinson(+1) gets a good cut this time, but instead of heading straight upfield and either juking the linebacker coming out on him or plowing into him and getting somewhere between 4 and 8 yards Roundtree(-1) spins around and falls to the ground in an attempt to get outside. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M33||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Deep hitch||Odoms||13|
|Just a very long pitch and catch; worry that he does not have the arm strength to get this out there against top competition, because as it is this BG CB isn't exactly miles away here. Nevertheless today it's good enough and Odoms evades the CB for a few YAC, though it could have been more if he had kept his feet. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M46||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||5|
|Eh? probably the right read since the DE was sliding down the line to prevent the belly and the LBs both came in(ZR+1). Tate ends up on the edge with the slot LB and I still want him to just run upfield until he gets tackled but he tries to juke the guy to the outside and gets tripped up.|
|O49||2||5||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||10|
|Backside DT gets completely donkeyed by Lewan(+1) and Schilling(+1), ending up somewhere around the first down marker by the time Shaw flies by. Molk(+1) and Omameh(+1) had done basically the same thing to the other DT, with Lewan and Molk getting easy popouts on the BG LBs. One of them gets a diving tackle attempt that Shaw spins out of but he's lost his momentum and goes down. If this was a read it was the right one with a DE in an inconvenient place and a scraper over the top(ZR+1).|
|RUN+: Lewan, Schilling, Molk, Omameh||RUN-:|
|O39||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Pass||PA Bubble||Roundtree||10 (pen -6 lol)|
|Forcier fakes the inside zone and immediately goes to the bubble; Odoms pounds a guy in the midsection for a good block and somehow gets called for a chop block because these guys are pure Sun Belt. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O45||1||16||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||Throwback screen||Stonum||-3|
|The counter to the flare screen; Robinson(-2) gets confused and doesn't block the slot LB at all, which blows up the play. (CA, 3, screen)|
|O48||2||19||Shotgun empty||1||0||4||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Improv fly||Roundtree||Inc (pen +15)|
|Ton of time as M stones four rushers; no one open for Forcier so he starts rolling in the pocket. His receivers break deep and he picks out Roundtree but throws the pass well short. Roundtree is run over, drawing a flag. I don't really know what to tag this. It was good play to chuck it because the DB was definitely in trouble but the ball was not great. I'm going with... (MA, 0, protection 3/3)|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||PA Bubble||Roundtree||23|
|All Roundtree(+3) as he jukes two different guys and turns this into a big play; Stokes(+1) did get a good block on the corner and finished it off by shoving the guy past Tree as he cut back for his final six or so yards.|
|RUN+: Roundtree(3), Stokes||RUN-:|
|O10||1||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||8|
|Wolverine heavy, sort of. It works, with Omameh(+1) controlling and shoving his man to seal him just as Shaw approaches the line; Dorrestein(+1) kicks out the DE and Koger(+1) gets an excellent lead block on a filling LB; Molk(+1) moves to the second level and plants the MLB. Shaw bursts through and gets cut to the ground by a desperate safety.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Koger, Shaw, Dorrestein||RUN-:|
|O2||2||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4-||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||2|
|Pretty much the same thing, with BG slanting heavily to the inside; Dorrestein(+1) caves his guy in and Shaw(+1) reads that, slipping outside and running over a linebacker who tried to fill. Webb(+1) got a good edge block.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 28-14, EOH.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||2|
|No cutback with Schilling(-1) unable to do anything with the backside DT; he is moving into the backfield. This is relevant because BG has slanted heavily and the frontside guy is shoving Omameh(-1) well into the backfield, forcing Shaw outside the tackle. Smith(+1) plugged the LB to that side, actually pancaking him, which does give Shaw a little crease; the delay allows a BG safety to thwack him just past the LOS.|
|RUN+: Schilling, Omameh||RUN-: Smith|
|O49||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||1||0||4||Base 4-3||Pass||PA cross||Roundtree||21|
|BG again getting good pressure on this PA rollout protection scheme by having a linebacker zip up into the hole between the line and a pulling Schilling, so Forcier doesn't have much time. The BG linebackers jump the circle route M's thrown a few times today, opening up Roundtree behind them. Forcier reads it and finds Roundtree. Ball is a little high but just in front of the safety and Roundtree brings it in as he's hit. The guy in the face increases the DOD. (DO, 2, protection 1/2, team -1)|
|O28||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Shaw||8|
|Schilling(+1) owns one DT on a single block, shoving him back three yards. Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) do the same to the other, with Molk popping out on a middle linebacker. All that beef moving downhill means Shaw is met four yards downfield and the pile lumbers another four. Lewan flashed his impressive agility here, too, though for no real purpose.|
|RUN+: Schilling(2), Molk(2), Omameh||RUN-:|
|O20||2||2||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Zone counter||Shaw||2|
|At least I think this is designed to cutback with both TEs headed to the backside of the play, the line blocking down, and Shaw ready to cut back real fast. Lewan(+1) helps cave in the playside DT and then pops out on the LB. Webb(+1) takes out the slot LB and Shaw looks like he's about to be in the clear with Koger ahead of him and just one BG safety left; he heads outside, Koger(-1) watches the safety run by, and that guy makes a desperate arm tackle to prevent six.|
|RUN+: Webb, Lewan||RUN-: Koger|
|O18||1||10||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Shaw||9|
|Slanting under again and moving an eighth guy in the box. Molk(+1) moves past the playside DT and then realizes what's happening. He peels off and seals that guy. Lewan and Schilling are dealing with the playside DE who is threatening to slant between them as Koger(+1) kicks out a blitzer. Webb(+1) is leading Shaw and kicks out the playside LB, giving him a lane between that block and the Lewan/Schilling double. Shaw(+1) did a good job of finding and hitting a small crease.|
|RUN+: Shaw, Koger, Webb, Molk||RUN-:|
|O9||2||1||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||0|
|Confusion between Lewan(-1) and Webb(-1) as Lewan starts moving to the second level and then gets held up by the DE; DE is now in good position to eliminate a cutback. Webb runs by this for a second level block; this is not so good. Forcier could have kept but I don't know if he actually has a read here; since it would have been successful and he didn't keep it I have to ZR -1 him. Smith(-1) should have just run to the frontside of the play, where Omameh(+1) had blown out the playside DT badly and there was a gap for the first down and maybe more.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Koger||RUN-: Webb, Lewan, Smith|
|O9||3||1||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||3|
|These are not all the same play as the H-backs keep going in different directions, FWIW. Here Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) pancake a BG DT; Schilling(-1) falls and loses his guy, drawing Webb's block and allowing a BG guy to come in to tackle after a short gain, but the obliteration of the DT was sufficient for the first.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Molk||RUN-: Schilling|
|O6||1||G||Shotgun 2H||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||4|
|Good handoff (ZR+1) with lots of guys unblocked on the backside. BG is running down the line fast, preventing anyone from getting a seal, so the OL just rideS guys down the line. Omameh(+1) gets the relevant block, controlling his guy and keeping him at the LOS, driving him far enough along that there's a cutback hole between him and the unblocked backside DE; Dorrestein and Molk(+1 each) get second level blocks. Smith hits it up and is lassoed down by the DE.|
|RUN+: Smith, Dorrestein, Molk, Omameh||RUN-:|
|O2||2||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Iso||Shaw||0|
|No push from the line but there is a gap for McColgan to hit, which he does(+1), blowing his guy into the endzone. If Shaw(-1) had run up his FB's back it's a touchdown but he hesitates and then has nowhere to go.|
|RUN+: McColgan||RUN-: Shaw|
|O2||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Pass||PA boot FB flat||McColgan||2|
|McColgan wide open as BG bites (RPS +1) and he flips it in for the easy TD. (CA, 3, protection NA)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 37-14, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Fly||Stonum||Inc (pen +15)|
|Forcier fumbles the snap on what was going to be a bomb and just chucks it after he recovers. TA? IN? MA? I don't know. I'm going to file it TA since I think he's just getting rid of it to live another down. BG's corner has great position on the play and gets an awful flag for pass interference. This is raw, throbbing injustice in a can. A perfect example of the kind of play a cornerback in position should be allowed to make. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Rollout quick out||Gallon||14|
|No PA, just a plain old rollout that sees Shaw cut the playside DE, giving Forcier plenty of time to find Gallon yards in front of a slot LB that appears to be in man coverage. Easy pitch, catch, and YAC. (RPS +1, CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|O8||1||G||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||8|
|Molk(+2) gets a great reach block on the playside DT, creasing the line; Omameh(+1) gets a second level block, and Lewan(+1) cuts two(!) guys on the backside. Schilling(-1) whiffed his second-level block but Smith(+1) runs through the tackle into the endzone. Dorrestein(+1) pancaked his guy too.|
|RUN+: Molk(2), Omameh, Lewan, Smith, Dorrestein||RUN-: Schilling|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 44-14, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M38||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-3||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||2|
|I am officially in half-ass mode, FWIW. Good play by a deep corner to charge this down. (CA, 3, screen)|
|M40||2||8||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone stretch||Cox||3|
|Corner blitz provides contain on the QB so BG has a DE and a LB on the backside; they slant hard to the playside and don't get sealed. Cox cuts up in a big hole between Omameh and Dorrestein and sort of avoids two tackles before being whomped by a safety. RPS -1. Could have minused Dorrestein if I was feeling mean.|
|M43||3||5||Shotgun 2-back||2||0||3||Base 4-4||Pass||PA Deep comeback||Stonum||10|
|PA rollout sees a BG blitz get in Forcier's face; he pulls up and nails a comeback route to Stonum. It's weird to remember he can do these things. (CA+, 3, protection 1/2, team -1)|
|O47||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-4||Pass||Bubble screen||Roundtree||16|
|This one is wide open by alignment and M takes it; Roundtree gets a block from Hemingway(+1) and it's easy. (CA, 3, screen, RPS +2)|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Smith||6|
|Little room as BG slants under again and Molk(-1) gets driven into the backfield some. Smith(+1) cuts back and gets outside thanks to a crushing block from Webb(+1) on the edge and jukes a tackler for decent yardage.|
|RUN+: Smith, Webb||RUN-: Molk|
|O25||2||4||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Power off tackle||Forcier||16|
|This is a broken play since Shaw just takes off to block someone on the backside as Forcier holds the ball out for a mesh that never comes. Okay, so Forcier just runs the play, which features Dorrestein(+1) and Webb(+1) blocking down as Omameh and Molk pull. Smith(+1) kicks out a linebacker; Omameh(+1) demolishes his guy, and Forcier hits the gap, makes a safety miss, and would be gone if he was Denard but is not Denard and gets a shoestring tackle for his troubles.|
|RUN+: Forcier(2), Omameh, Smith, Dorrestein, Webb||RUN-: Shaw|
|O9||1||G||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Down G||Smith||6|
|Other side of the line with Webb(+1) sealing the playside DE and Schilling pulling around. Schilling(+1) and Cox(+1) both kick out second level guys and Smith is one on one with a safety in some space; he lowers his head and is tackled. Meh.|
|RUN+: Webb, Lewan, Cox, Schilling||RUN-: Smith|
|O3||2||G||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Cox||2|
|Omameh(-1) whiffs on his guy, who ends up falling in the backfield in the path of the runner, forcing Cox outside where he runs through one arm tackle and then meets a safety while still off balance, getting stood up. This was possible thanks to Huyge, now playing RT, kicking his guy out far enough for Cox to have a lane.|
|RUN+: Huyge||RUN-: Omameh|
|O1||3||G||I-Form Big||2||2||1||Goal line||Run||Zone stretch||Smith||1|
|Omameh, Huyge, and Webb all blow their guys out and Omameh actually has a moment in this play where he's blocking two separate BG players by pushing them in the chest simultaneously. McColgan doesn't even have anyone to block as Smith strolls in.|
|RUN+: Omameh, Huyge, Webb||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 51-21, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||RB||TE||WR||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M6||1||10||Ace twins||1||2||2||Base 4-4||Run||Inside zone||Cox||4|
|Barnum in. Okay, I will do some vague charting here but I'm not going to bother with RPS since M is just running the game out. Here blitzing linebackers hit the gaps too fast for the linemen to get out on them, forcing a cutback from Cox(+1). He runs through a tackle and drags another guy forward four yards; would have gotten a couple more if the refs hadn't whistled it down for lack of forward progress that seemed to be progressing still.|
|M10||2||6||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Cox||2|
|Also discarding ZR since I don't want QBs carrying at this point, but this should have been a keep if it wasn't a 30 point game in the fourth. Omameh(-1) gets stalemated and then his guy fights inside; Dorrestein is only doing OK on the edge so Cox does not have gap to the outside and has to cut back into a crashing DE. He keeps his feet impressively on a tackle attempt but the delay allows BG to converge and he only gets an extra yard out of it.|
|M12||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Pass||Scramble||Forcier||7|
|Five guys come and Michigan blocks them all; Forcier actually has Koger wide open for the first but sees a lane open up in front of him and knows he can get the first with his legs; he does so. (SCR, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|M19||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||1||1||3||Base 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Forcier||2|
|Forcier keeps; no idea what or who he's reading here since the blocking is unfamiliar. He fakes the bubble as he attempts to get to the edge but a linebacker runs him down; Molk was blocking for the handoff and the LB read keep too fast. Denard gets the corner here but you knew that.|
|M21||2||8||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Inside zone||Cox||10|
|Omameh(+1) and Molk(+1) fire off to double one DT, who gives a ton of ground; Molk pops off on the MLB. The other DT is crushed by Barnum(+1) with help from Lewan; a crashing DE is taken out by Koger(+1). Cox just has to run up in the gaping hole and does.|
|RUN+: Barnum, Omameh, Molk, Koger||RUN-:|
|M31||1||10||Shotgun H-back||1||1||3||Nickel 4-3||Run||Zone read keeper||Gardner||3|
|Gardner returns, and should definitely keep this since BG is cheating on the RB but still gets run down for two yards by taking an angle not far enough outside. I think he's plenty fast but he's got a lot of work to do as a runner.|
|M34||2||7||Shotgun 2-back TE||2||1||2||Base 4-3||Run||Power off tackle||Toussaint||60|
|Features a pull from Omameh as Huyge(+1) blocks down on the playside DT and provides a big hole. Koger(+1) kicks out a DE; a blitzing MLB has taken himself out of the play and Omameh(+1) clubs the last LB out of the way, opening up green pastures for Toussaint.|
|RUN+: Huyge, Omameh, Koger, Toussaint||RUN-:|
|M6||1||G||Shotgun 2-back||2||1||2||Base 4-4||Run||Zone stretch||Toussaint||6|
|Backside DT is cut to the ground by Lewan(+1) and the frontside guy kind of lunges in at Molk, forcing Toussaint around him but falling uselessly; Omameh(+2) controls and then destroys the playside DE, who is blocked into the endzone. Toussaint with an easy TD. Barnum(+1) also did well to get a block on the second level.|
|RUN+: Omameh(2), Lewan, Barnum||RUN-:|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 58-21, 7 min 4th Q. Backup OL comes in and charting ceases, as we're not going to learn anything about this year's team from this game. You can watch Cox's long run, on which Quinton Washington obliterates some dude, though. And here's Gardner's touchdown.|
*Elaborate yawning mechanism.*
Yes, yes, steampunk fictional questioner who does not appreciate where he has come from.
Well, is there really even a point?
No, not on this side of the ball. I would have cut this off sooner but for BG's annoying persistence on offense and our first extended look at Devin Gardner. The offensive line was crushing to the point where it was tough to tell whether or not I should be handing out pluses to the tackles on plays where the interior linemen were ridin' that donkey five, six, seven yards downfield. Here's Fitzgerald Toussaint's touchdown. Watch Omameh:
This was most of the day. So take everything below with a grain of salt. Michigan won't face a defense this bad after this weekend again.
We demand low-information charts anyway.
Low information charts, then.
Hennechart comes with a reminder that numbers in parentheses are screens! I've also added the zone read metric to these charts instead of spreading it out. It's in the format correct decisions / opportunities.
|2009, All Of It||1||7||6(2)||3(1)||4||4||-||-||?||-||44%|
Nobody had enough downfield throws to warrant a downfield success rate, but everyone impressed. Denard hit a 30-yard corner route, Devin had two long should-have-been touchdowns, the second a beautiful touch seam, and Forcier rolled out and pulled up to hit Roundtree over the middle.
My only complaint/worry here was the short toss to Gallon on which Gardner was pressured. He defaulted to that pushing motion, it looked, and the resulting pass was well off target. Oh, and there was the failed fourth down attempt. In any case, it certainly looks like Michigan is more loaded at quarterback than they've ever been.
Who works for number two?
Uh… if that's a question about the second-string quarterback, I think it should be Tate, but not because of any of the passing numbers above. It's the zone read stuff, where Gardner's barely above 50%, and the numbers from the—
Run chart, but whatever. BEHOLD THE DONKENING
|Huyge||2||-||2||Couple of good plays at RT late.|
|Lewan||11||1||10||Was very effective on cuts, too.|
|Schilling||10||5||5||Had some trouble with BG slants.|
|Molk||16||5||11||Wish he'd be more consistent on MLBs.|
|Omameh||20||6||14||Most of Michigan's long runs came over his side of the line.|
|Barnum||2||-||2||I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.|
|Dorrestein||6||1||5||I'll take it from the back of the rotation starter.|
|Webb||9||1||8||Fetch me the club…|
|Koger||7||1||6||…and smite the heathen seals.|
|TOTAL||83||20||63||Even more obliteration.|
|Robinson||8||-||8||Not bad for four rushes.|
|Gardner||-||5||-5||Yeah… about that.|
|Forcier||2||1||1||Was limping, too.|
|Shaw||10||2||8||Broke some tackles, seemed to hit all the right holes.|
|Smith||10||2||8||Smart blocking, good cuts, an occasional broken tackle.|
|Cox||2||-||2||Physically impressive. Good balance again.|
|Toussaint||-||-||-||Runs were super easy.|
|Hopkins||3||-||3||Fumble not included.|
|Jones||-||-||-||Stopped charting by the time he got in.|
|TOTAL||36||10||26||Shaw again most impressive.|
So this was more of the same, with Lewan being impressive for a tackle just because he is noticeable on so many run plays. Tackles mostly just lock out DEs who are happy to cut off the outside; Lewan is making an impact comparable to an above-average guard. Also, the tight ends were just clubbing guys all day.
At tailback, Smith and Shaw came out about even in the numbers above and the official ones (both had 12 carries; Smith had three more yards) but if I had to pick it would be Shaw and it wouldn't be that close. The three backups who got charted all flashed some ability and didn't screw up except for the Hopkins fumble. Cox really is physically impressive, capable of dragging tacklers and again flashing great balance. I'm hoping we get to see more of him as the season goes on.
So about number two?
Right, so, Gardner has a –5 up there, the only minus of the day aside from Terrance Robinson. This came about because he pulled the ball on three separate instances when he should have handed off and got roped down for little gain; on a couple other runs he eschewed certain yards for more of that high school stuff where you just cut it outside all day on the assumption you are faster than everyone else. Tate has more experience at the college level and when he cut it way outside he had a block and got tracked down by a linebacker from behind; he also seems to be better at ascertaining when to hand it off.
That plus Tate's excellent day throwing makes me lean towards Forcier in the unfortunate event of a serious injury to Robinson.
I still have a couple more charts, by the way. Receivers:
A fairly boring day here. Just one drop, but it was a big one: Hemingway's oopsie on Devin Gardner's first shoulda-been touchdown.
And this isn't a chart but PROTECTION METRIC: 26/31, Dorrestein –1, Team –4.
The "team" minuses were for blitzes into Michigan's favored rollout package that got Forcier and Gardner in trouble a couple times. Michigan might have to go way from that now that Bowling Green has demonstrated how to pressure it consistently. M got away with it against a team with little talent, but add some speed to that linebacker or some competence to the secondary and bad things might happen.
Did we see anything new?
Obviously the Wolverine Heavy look was new, but Michigan also started responding to BG's tendency to slant like there's no tomorrow by breaking out the pulling OL. Watch Omameh:
That's a completely standard run play I've seen Michigan defend dozens of times over the past few years. I've even got an automatic link for it: Down G. See? It linked.
On Down G you've got a tackle and sometimes a tight end blocking down on the line as Michigan pulls one OL and finds a lead blocker from somewhere else, whether it's a tailback or a H-back or whatever. This is a response to BG's uber-slanting. If the DL slant in the direction of the play, they meet the downblockers head on and get blown up as they do above. Then there's lots of space off tackle and usually the linebackers will be hanging out on the backside of the play where the cutbacks are on a zone. On this play one blitzes right up the middle, another heads to the backside, and there's just one guy in a big hole starting down the mobile death that is Patrick Omameh. And then you get a lot of yards.
Here's another example, on which Shaw busts his assignment but BG is so confused that it doesn't matter and Molk doesn't even have anyone to block:
Michigan has not shown this much in the RR era (and literally never ran it during the DerpBord stretch-and-stretch-only era). I wonder why they chose to do so in a game they'd salted away already. It's not like this is rocket science—it's a totally standard play—but I'd rather break it out against Michigan State than BG.
What does a can of injustice look like?
Poor BG cornerback. This is my least favorite iteration of pass interference, where a guy is running in front of or even with a receiver who tries to run through the DB. The DB has great coverage and is penalized for it. They should clarify the rule to express that a player who is even or deeper with a wide receiver can't be penalized for not changing his momentum. If you're beaten and the ball's underthrown and you run a guy over, fine, flag. But that stuff above is painful even when you're on the right end of a wrong call.
Again, you could almost pick anyone. Special commendation to the offensive line and tight ends.
Hopkins fumbled, Molk got that personal foul, and Devin Gardner had some iffy running plays, but that's it when you score touchdowns on 9 of 11 drives.
What does it mean for Indiana and beyond?
Indiana is going to get nuked. They are currently sporting the 92nd-best rushing defense in the land thanks to the dynamic ground attacks of Towson, Western Kentucky, and Akron. None of those teams have a win over a I-A opponent, and they're actually 1-3 against I-AA thanks to Towson sucking and Gardner Webb beating Akron in OT. Akron exceeded their season average in yards by over 100 and their opponents other than the I-AA team were Syracuse and Kentucky. They are donkeys.
As for the rest of the season, Taylor Lewan seems to have locked down the left tackle job and pushed that position from average or slightly above to good, potentially verging on great. His emergence gives Michigan spare bodies on the OL and makes the offense close to bulletproof without an Angry Michigan BLANK-Hating God injury monsoon with the lone exception of quarterback, where your prayer vigil should be unceasing.
Even there, both Michigan quarterbacks showed well. Michigan gave up a couple scores late in the first half and there was a rumble of worry in the stadium when it was 21-14, but Rodriguez just threw Forcier out there and watched him march down the field for a touchdown, another touchdown, some more touchdowns, additional touchdowns, etc.
I'd ratchet up expectations another half-notch here. Lewan gives the offense more depth, Denard's added a few more items to his "not a fluke" pile, and the backup quarterbacks look solid. Also they just put up 721 yards, and I don't care who it's against if it's a I-A team: 721 yards means your offense is scary.
[Ed: see what he did there?]
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue. For game updates on Wolverine commits, check out the Friday Night Lights series.
Decision Time is Finally Here. Maybe.
GA S Avery Walls has been named to the Army All-American game. His coach had plenty of good things to say about him too:
"Avery came to this school and just instantly was a great leader who showed great character," Gess said. "As far as him as a player, he just shuts down a whole side of the field because coaches won't throw or run that way. He also raises his teammates' level of play. He's a great representative of Eagle's Landing Christian and what they stand for."
He'll make a decision next month, after a couple visits to Oregon and Cal. Michigan was in great shape after his visit to Ann Arbor, and hopefully the Ducks and Bears do nothing to change that. Walls is an early-enrollment candidate.
If FL RB Demetrius Hart doesn't make his decision next week, it wouldn't be the first time he's changed his mind about an announcement timeframe. However, this is the most public he's been about when he'll pick his school. Hart is taking an official visit to Alabama this weekend. Tom hinted that Hart may take another unofficial visit in his weekly update, and I bet that would be to Michigan should he choose the Wolverines. It's still looking good here.
Assume the Position: D-Line
Michigan is hunting for at least one defensive tackle, and probably another defensive end. Who are some of the candidates?
FL DT Tim Jernigan will not decide until after his senior season. He's also started planning out some of his visits:
He said he plans on attending at least one game involving each of the schools, including the UF-Alabama game Oct. 2 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the LSU-UF game in Gainesville on Oct. 9 and games at Michigan and USC.
That means no Michigan State game in Ann Arbor, leaving Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin weekends. If his coach is right:
The biggest factor the coach said would play into Jernigan’s decision is playing time.
With a college-ready frame and skill set, Howard said Jernigan is going to likely attend the school that can provide him a chance to play early.
That means Advantage: Michigan over all of his other contenders.
MI DE/OL Anthony Zettel gave raving reviews of his visit to Michigan State:
"It was an amazing game to be at," Zettel said. "I think that Michigan State is starting to become a very good team. I was able to have some small talk with a lot of the recruits at the game."
OK, maybe that's more "I was in attendance" than anything hugely positive for the Spartans. Scout's Allen Trieu explains to the Lansing State Journal:
Michigan looks like it could be the team to beat for Zettel, but the Spartans are in contention.
"He's been a life-long Michigan fan, and you just want to be able to stay in the game with him," Trieu said. "The fact that he hasn't committed to Michigan yet is a big thing for Michigan State."
At this point , when "not committed to Michigan quite yet" is the best thing you can say about State's recruitment of the kid, the Wolverines are looking good.
GA DE Ray Drew, Walls's buddy, wants to visit Ann Arbor:
"I would also like to go to Michigan to see the Big House. Every football player knows about that place... There are a lot of schools I would like to see before I decide on signing day.”
He says he's close to having all of his visits set up, so we should know soon when he'll be in the house. Drew won't make a decision until Signing Day.
MI RB Thomas Rawls is smashing Mark Ingram's Flint-area rushing records. If he can get his grades up, he could be a good addition to Michigan's class. At 5'10", 215, he's a differenet sort of back than Hart.
NJ TE Jack Tabb is taking an official visit to Iowa City this weekend ($, info in header), even though the Hawkeyes already have three (!) tight ends in this class. Michigan is in the running for one of his other visits, and he took a trip to Ann Arbor earlier this summer.
IL OL Chris Bryant, a recent visitor to Ann Arbor, has the Wolverines in his top 3/4 with Arizona, Stanford, and Illinois. From the tone of the article, Michigan is still on top.
KY LB Lamar Dawson has M in his final 7.
Dee Hart isn't the only Orlando Dr. Phillips guy with Michigan interest. It is highly unlikely that FL S HaSean Clinton-Dix will strongly consider Michigan anymore, but his fellow safety Roderick Ryles is looking for an offer.
FL TE/DE Brandon Fulse has narrowed his list, and Michigan is no longer on it.
Happy Trails, FL DE Giorgio Newberry. He's committed to Florida State.
It appears as though VA CB Demetrious Nicholson is no longer planning to take a Michigan visit.
FL QB Bennie Coney is holding a Michigan offer. It will be interesting to see what types of QBs Michigan goes after this season.
Just to clarify, Plant City is not the same Plant that 2011 OL Commit Tony Posada attends.
OH RB William Mahone is interested in Michigan, and attended a summer camp in Ann Arbor this summer. The Buckeyes already have two RB commits in 2012, so they won't be the competition.
As expected, MI DT Danny O'Brien received his verbal offer from Michigan at the Bowling Green game.
ESPN's Chris Pool reports that IL DT Tommy Schutt also holds a verbal offer from the Wolverines.
Also in attendance last Saturday was OH S Allen Gant. The son of former Wolverine Tony Gant (and nephew of Charles Woodson) plans to take his time making a decision.
It returns. Why didn't we have them for the first four games? Our super-inside connect with WOLV moved to Chicago and it took some time to coordinate with WTKA, which is generously providing studio space, and get everything up and going. But that's all in the past and we'll have them on the regular from here on out except maybe next week because I have to go to a wedding in Arizona this weekend and most of Sunday is driving or being on a plane. We'll try; no guarantees.
Since this is the first one since the season preview we talk about the entire nonconference season, discussing positives in negatives in a meandering conversation. A special section is dedicated is to One Of These Seasons Is Not Like The Other.
After that we bring on regular guest Jamiemac of Just Cover to talk Indiana—he is a nominal Hoosier when it comes to the football—and the rest of the Big Ten, with far too much time spent on this weekends epic clash between Minnesota and Northwestern. (Note: the lines we talk about were the LSVC opening ones since that's all we had at the time; the line moves since have conformed to expectations by making Wisconsin about a field goal favorite at MSU and pushing the Indiana-M line out to about two touchdowns.
The usual links:
The hockey team takes on Mercyhurst this weekend in an actual game, and since I had the good sense to write my hockey season preview in the summer it exists for the first time ever. The forwards:
- Lose just Brian Lebler and midseason defection Robbie Czarnik.
- Return everyone else including seniors Carl Hagelin, Louie Caporusso, and Matt Rust.
- Add talented-but-engimatic forwards and draft stock imploders Luke Moffatt and Jacob Fallon.
Carl Hagelin == hockey Denard.
- Michigan loses Chris Summers and Steve Kampfer.
- They return Tristin Llewellyn, Chad Langlais, Brandon Burlon, Greg Pateryn, and Lee Moffie.
- They add second-rounder Jon Merrill, 2009 third-rounder Mac Bennett, and undrafted NTDPer Kevin Clare.
Biggest concerns are Llewellyn's reliability, a shut-down defender against top pairings, and how to get Moffie on the ice if he's learned how to play D.
I have no idea what will happen here. Hunwick could backslide as his rebound control betrays him, and Hogan could bounce back to his junior-year form. If you put a gun to my head I would say Hunwick claims the starting job around midseason, but that is a prediction with nothing but good memories from the playoff run behind it. I don't think anyone has a clue here, including the coaches.
Yost Built is also ramping up its season preview. Michigan is ranked #4 in the first USA today poll of the season and the official site has launched a "Countdown to Faceoff" series similar to the CTK videos. Here's Louie Caporusso:
The TV schedule, road games in bold:
|10/2/10||Mercyhurst at Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|10/8/10||Michigan at Bowling Green||7:05||Comcast|
|10/30/10||Ferris State at Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|11/5/10||Michigan State at Western Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|11/13/10||Notre Dame at Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|11/19/10||Lake Superior at Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|12/3/10||Michigan at Ohio State||7:35||BTN|
|12/11/10||Michigan State v. Michigan
The Big Chill at the Big House
|12/30/10||G-L-I Championship (Teams TBD)||7:35||FSD|
|1/7/11||Michigan at Michigan State||7:35||BTN|
|1/8/11||Michigan State at Michigan||7:05||FS PLUS|
|1/14/11||Ferris State at Michigan||7:35||CBS College|
|1/15/11||Michigan at Ferris State||7:05||Comcast|
|1/21/11||Alaska at Michigan||7:35||FS PLUS|
|1/29/11||Michigan v. Michigan State (JLA)||8:05||FSD|
|2/4/11||Michigan at Miami||7:35||CBS College|
|2/5/11||Michigan at Miami||5:05||FSD|
|2/11/11||Ohio State at Michigan||7:35||BTN|
|2/12/11||Ohio State at Michigan||7:35||BTN|
|2/18/11||Western Michigan at Michigan||7:35||Comcast|
|2/19/11||Western Michigan at Michigan||7:35||FSD|
|3/4 OR 5/11||First-Round Campus-Site||TBA||CBS College|
|3/12/11||Second-Round Campus Site||TBA||Comcast|
|3/18/11||CCHA Semifinal # 1||4:35||FS PLUS|
|3/18/11||CCHA Semifinal # 2||8:05||FS PLUS|
|3/19/11||CCHA Championship Game||7:35||FS PLUS|
That's 20 of 34 games plus potential additions if they get to the GLI championship (likely since the first opponent this year is Michigan Tech) and host a playoff series, which they obviously will. As a bonus, all of the FSD games will be in HD.
Serious coverage will have to wait until football season is over, but there will be erratic posts when warranted.
A Stupid Prediction
Michigan spent most of last year floundering around looking like they'd be the first Berenson team in 20 years to miss the tournament, then caught fire in the CCHA playoffs. Eight games later they were undefeated in the postseason when some guy from Hockey East and his galaxy-spanning incompetence robbed Michigan of a goal that would send them to the Frozen Four. Fate being what it is, Shawn Hunwick would misplay an easy slap shot in the most crushing hockey game I've ever seen.
The question Michigan hockey will spend the first half of the season answering is "well, which is it?" Is it the .500 team that entered the CCHA playoffs or the undefeated team that outshot Miami almost 4 to 1 in the first overtime of the Waterloo, Indiana game?
It should be the latter. Michigan will battle Miami for the conference title, make the NCAA tournament as either a 1 or 2 seed, and then you've got single elimination playoff hockey designed to make a mockery of anyone stupid enough to predict it. Red is going around bluntly stating things like this:
"We realized we were as good as anybody at the end of last year and this team will take that (confidence) and put that on the ice."
"Does it make our team better? Definitely, it's huge," said Berenson of having Hagelin and Caporusso back. "You're so much more optimistic because you know who your top players are. I felt they had their heads in the right place. They are really invested in this program."
They will lay waste and then it will be the tournament again, where nothing makes sense and it all matters so much.
For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Last week: Lake Nona was destroyed yet again, this time dropping a 7-41 decision to Sebring. The grisly details:
The Blue Streaks' Clarence Counts recorded the first of four interceptions against Lake Nona star Kevin Sousa on the first play of the game...
Lake Nona was able to avoid the shutout when Sousa found Dmitri Fontana behind the defense on a 28-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter...
The Sebring defense made life miserable for Sousa all game, holding the future Michigan Wolverine to 20 yards rushing and 8 of 17 passing for 126 yards.
"He's a good player," Sutton said. "Our defensive line did a good job and our middle linebackers spied on him, so we did pretty good... We wanted to shut him out," he said. "We know how good we are. We could have shut them out easily. We had a few mistakes and we just have to get better at it."
Article 2. Sousa has uploaded highlights of his last two games:
If that's what the blocking looks like on the good plays, I can only imagine how bad it is when he's forced into poor throws.
|Kevin Sousa 2010|
|Oak Ridge||L 0-48||6||13||46.15||34||2.62||0||1||7||31||4.43||0|
This week: Lake Nona plays Lake Wales on Friday.
MI WR Shawn Conway
FridayNightHighlights.tv has comprehensive highlights, as usual.
|Shawn Conway 2010|
|North Farmington||W 26-6||4||32||8.00||1||3||137||45.67|
|Country Day||L 21-28||3||62||20.67||0||3||32||10.67|
This week: The Maples travel to Hazel Park Friday at 7.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last week: St. John's lost to Toledo Whitmer 24-49. No mention of Miller in the game article.
This week: St. John's hosts winless Toledo Start Friday at 7pm.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant hosts Armwood in "The Rivalry" on Friday.
MI OL Jake Fisher
This week: TC West plays Dearborn Edsel Ford on Saturday at 6 at Ferris State.
OH DE Chris Rock
Last week: DeSales lost to Orchard Lake St. Mary's 0-24. Game highlights. I was there, so enjoy some original video (Rock is #54, playing defensive end and right tackle):
Those highlights should be HD, but obviously are not. I'll try to figure out what the technology problem is for the next edition. Scouting report:
I was not impressed with Rock's play. It's possible he was just having a bad night, but there have been reports from this entire season that suggest Rock is "just a guy" out there. Though St. Mary's gameplanned a bit to keep him out of the game (running away from him, double-teaming him, etc.), that's not the only reason he wasn't a factor.
He was routinely stoned by St. Mary's tackle #72, and it's not like that guy's going to go on to play Division-1 football. For being the biggest (not fattest) guy out there, Rock's strength seemed to be seriously lacking, and his movement skills left something to be desired.
With a guy Rock's size, you assume that a couple years under a collegiate strength and conditioning program will mold his body into a more powerful, quicker one, but it's not at that point right now. On offense, Rock's effort, even on simple cut blocks, left a lot to be desired.
This week: DeSales takes on Maumee on Thursday night..
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Last week: Plymouth took down Livonia Franklin, 24-7. Beyer had a touchdown catch:
Plymouth snapped the 7-7 tie on its first second-half drive when Austin connected with Beyer with a 34-yard spiral to make it 14-7.
The article also mentions Beyer's coach praised his defensive efforts.
Article 2 provides a bit more detail on the reception:
senior receiver Brennen Beyer (4 catches, 78 yards, 1 TD)...
According to Beyer, Plymouth’s offensive coordinator told him he “saw an opening on the slant and that they were going to throw it to me."
This week: 3-1 Plymouth hosts Westland John Glenn on Friday at 7.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Last week: St. Pius X had a bye.
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
This week: St. Pius takes on St. Thomas Catholic on Friday at 7:30.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Last week: Fremont Ross pasted University 38-10. Only Brown mention:
After a 40-yard run from Greg Brown, Gabe Tayar knocked in a 32-yard field goal.
The Fremont Ross Forum blog on the game.
Update from the Cleveland Benedictine a couple weeks back: we already knew that Brown kicked off the game with a big touchdown reception, and his final stats were 4 receptions for 147 yards.
This week: The Little Giants take on Findlay on Friday.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Next Week: Cass Tech goes to Detroit Mumford on Friday at 4.
Brabbs reminder. Chicagoans: Phil Brabbs is having a fundraiser this weekend for the Indiana game, which Michigan will DOMINATE. Offer still stands on the Brabbs shirts, BTW: buy one, get five bucks off a second shirt in the (now severely reduced) MGoStore.
Insane rootability UPDATE! This is quality except for hated non-journalist Melanie Collins(!) introing it:
(Note: last time Melanie Collins was referenced on the blog the comments got very sad; just don't, hokay?)
Also: you've already seen Stonum kick the glasses up a notch this week, but what about Taylor Lewan's insane mustache tattoo?
The purpose of this:
"I mean it's the best icebreaker in the world. You go up to them," Lewan said, putting his finger in place to reveal the mustache, "'Miss, let's be serious, I just want to dance.'"
You will not be surprised to learn the idea originated in third grade. I mean:
"My friend thought it would be a cool idea to draw a mustache on (his finger)," Lewan said. " I was like 'this is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life. I have to do this for real.'"
I love this team.
Kicking paint. Via a reader:
Injury watch. Another pair of big injuries hit the Big Ten this weekend, with Purdue QB Robert Marve and Penn State RT Lou Eliades tearing ACLs and getting knocked out for the year. Marve's replacement is a redshirt freshman who will further condemn Purdue to a terrible season; they're now down their top QB, RB, and WR and just lost to Toledo by 11. The Rockets were dead last in total offense going into the Purdue game; they put up 31 points and exceeded their season yardage average by 100. Purdue is bad. Someone should Yakety Sax the upcoming Purdue-Minnesota game.
Penn State winnability watch. Eliades's loss sends Penn State into a further bout of scrambling on the OL. They were already starting two(!) guys who played guard in 2009 at tackle. Now they're going with this guy:
Filling Eliades will be redshirt junior Chima Okoli, who is an offensive lineman for the first time in his career. Okoli was a full-time defensive lineman in high school and at Penn State until spring drills, when he reluctantly shifted to offense.
Penn State's starting tackles are now 6'3" and 6'4", and the position switch starter klaxons are blaring. Linebacker U on the situation:
The offensive line was already having issues before this tragedy. I lost count just how many times I pounded my fist on the bar table today when PSU only had to pick up a yard or two in third down situations and got manhandled by Temple's defensive line. … I am now taking bets on just how many of our linemen are going to join ex-punter Jeremy Boone in getting swallowed by Iowa's Adrian Clayborn next week.
Normally level-headed official-journalist-type-guy Bill Kline also sounds the alarm, albeit about a different position:
Penn State's safeties are just too slow. Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay both got burned on runs, and more than once. Andrew Dailey also was beaten. Terrelle Pryor is gonna eat them up, let alone Denard Robinson of Michigan. Can you imagine those safeties trying to even touch D-Rob? He could outrun those guys wearing a NASA spacesuit.
Yeesh. He also has some critical words for Bolden ("overthrows open receivers, holds onto the ball too long, rifles it in there harder than a sledgehammer") and actually says the PSU coaches should have inserted Kevin "Michigan Fans Are Just Bitter" Newsome at some point against the Owls.
All that sounds like overreaction to me. Even so, the Penn State game has moved into the coinflip-ish band with MSU and Iowa, even at night on the road. I remain terrified of Wisconsin even if Vegas hates them.
The Freude. TWIS is up and has the usual bout of Notre Dame self-loathing. Get your laughs in now since ND's next five games should all be easy wins—Boston College is the toughest opponent in that stretch and they also feature in TWIS because they have a 70-year-old OC named "Tranquill," which is just too easy.
Also featured is TRAIN MONKEY:
Train monkey could have called a better four down set
TRAIN MONKEY FOR WVU OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR.
BONUS! This just came down the NDN crazy pipe:
My mom says it's ok we lost because Stanford is a good team
by KLav18 (2010-09-27 16:03:17)
I want to punch her in the face and tell her that is the whole problem. We can't beat anyone good because we suck.
Is there anything more entertaining than ND Nation after a loss? Yes: Denard Robinson. But that's it.
I admire your enthusiasm. One Indiana fan's opinion of this weekend's game:
Michigan has no chance next week....
their defense doesnt exist. They barely beat an ND that IU could easily handle (ND couldnt dominate PU, which got killed by Toledo. You think Toledo would beat IU??). They barely beat UMass (FCS team?) at home.
They are not going to get 400 yards on IU.... let alone 700 yards.
Michigan are getting full of themselves, again. The BTN is helping.
Chappel will destroy them. Robinson will get some of his yards, but no one else will. And if they are sandbagging his injury, Tate Forcier's parents will have to take down his website after the game.
This is just one guy, obviously. Most other IU fans are hopeful but reasonable, or seem reasonable next to this guy, who also suggests that if the "referines" give Michigan the game again, IU should join the Big 12.
Etc.: Oregon blog Off The Pond finds AP voter John Wilner's secret ballot notes. Wilner is one of two voters to exclude Michigan, and the rest of his ballot does not make the guy out to be a genius. (The other guy not to vote for Michigan is creepy/sad cheerleader groupie Scott Wolf.) Nobody goes to Florida State games. Just 61k showed up for the Wake Forest game; they haven't topped 70k for the last five games. TV Guide droids are changing the storyline.
The Darryl Stonum fashion show marches on.
Long drives speak to the team's preparation in practice to execute. "It becomes clockwork, and I think that's what we do - we execute very well and that just goes to how well-coached we are... Wherever we are on the field, we feel like we can execute at any time." The offense is explosive. "I think it's 'no limits' when we execute."
Kelvin Grady has been working hard on the field and in the weightroom. He's catching and blocking well. "He's a lot more comfortable - as well as all of us."
This offense is fun because there are so many options. "You never know who's going to be the one having a big game."
The collapse last year is motivation to keep working hard this year. "We can't get our heads big right now. Like Coach Rod said - we can't swallow the poison."
"I think we're just together as a team... it's a family atmosphere in the locker room." Everyone is comfortable with each other, and they're able to have fun out there.
"Troy's happy... He wants to get back out there with us so bad." He'll be on the sidelines as soon as he can.
Haven't watched any Indiana film. "I'm pretty sure Indiana's a great team, and they're gonna be a great team for us to play this week."
Grady will graduate in December and start working on a Master's.
"I actually smiled" when he saw the penalty flag calling back his touchdown. "It's one of those things where - it happens." Felt good to score, even if it didn't end up counting.
Feels comfortable in the system. Has had the opportunity to play three different positions. Understanding the other positions had made him more comfortable at slot.
"I'm blessed to be able to get to different positions and learn other positions." Now he has the experience to help younger guys out.
"We're gonna go in this week and we're gonna work hard." Playing Indiana is no different than another opponent.
Avoiding team's recent struggles in Big Ten play? More guys are interested in their individual role on the team. Some guys have stepped up. "Darry Stonum has really stepped up this year for us." Mike Martin has stepped up on D, and the DB corps is getting better all the time.
Is Denard at 75% healthy faster than most QBs? "I'd take 25% Shoelace as faster than most quarterbacks." He's worked hard to step up. Devin and Tate came in and showed the depth at the position. "It's very key" to have the quality of backups Michigan has. "This game is more about patience. Obviously we have Denard that's stepped up and is doing very well for this team. But we've also got a 12-game starter as his backup." There are plenty of guys to step up.
Success on the ground: "I feel like we have weapons all over the place." It helps to have a fast QB.
"Being 1-7 is something obviously we don't want to look back on." Use it as motivation for this season.
"Denard is really humble. A really humble kid. Sometimes, I think we actually - I don't think he recognizes or knows the accolades." They tease him that he doesn't even know he's on TV every 10 minutes. "A great person, a great teammate. Humble, has great faith. It's all positive." He's not selfish - wants to see the other QBs play well.
"Did you see those glasses? They were awesome."
Starting "was the goal as a redshirt freshman." It's been a blessing to get the opportunity, glad to be out there. "You're just way more into the game." It was frustrating against Penn State last year, because there was nothing he could do. "The biggest thing is I can help change."
Working out with Barwis helped Lewan - "really just fueled the fire." Worked on strength, speed, quickness, using everything he has to his advantage.
Jersey number - "When I actually committed, one of the things was, 'I want #77.'" Didn't know much about Jake Long until after he started wearing the number in high school. Watched Long play for the Dolphins last night: "He does it all, and that's awesome." Saw Long once last year on the sidelines. "That's a very large individual."
Favorite thing about Ann Arbor is all the different people. See all sorts of interesting people.
Balancing mean streak with avoiding penalties. In high school, got probably three penalties a game. Need to be nasty, but also smart. "When I go out there, I'm trying to be as mean as possible, and make sure nobody's having a good time when they're playing against us."
Lewan's dad gives him constructive criticism after every game.
"We were 4-0 last year at this time. We've gotta keep out head down, keep playing."
The QBs are playing like seniors. "They're playing like champions, and that's awesome."
Zac Ciullo has probably never played a snap [Ed: Got in at left guard during CONESTRAVAGANZA '09], but he's a huge leader out there. He has great work ethic. "He works harder than every other person on this team."
The OL blocks equally hard for all three QBs. "I'm gonna do what I can to protect them no matter what."
At first, Lewan was bitter to lose the LT competition in camp. "It just made me work harder."
Likes left tackle because they get all the attention of the offensive linemen.
"I feel like I just turn off my head and play football" to get the mean streak going.
Ryan Van Bergen
"I think it's a more mature 4-0 team. I think it's a hungry 4-0 team. A lot of guys on this team have been 4-0 before and didn't accomplish a lot of things they wanted to ."
Chappell is an experienced QB. Have to account for him on every play, they protect him well.
Young guys on D. "I think that the play of Thomas Gordon" has been a pleasant surprise. When Carvin went down, he stepped up. They'll compete when Carvin returns.
Lewan: "He's a pretty physical guy. I'll give him credit." Joked with him a lot that he'd never get big enough to play, but that motivated him. They've exchanged blows in practice, but are still friends after. "The ceiling for him is really high. I think he's got a lot of potential."
Facing Denard in practice is helpful, because you're never going to see a guy like that in the opposition. Helps learn pursuit angles, but it's frustrating to chase him on D.
"I think it's a common misconception that if you play to your assignment, you can get to Denard. That's why we have him out there, because he breaks your assignment."
Martin - "Since he's playing in that 0 head-up on the center..." people are doubling him up, but they don't get there in time because he can get rid of the center before the guard can get over. Credits his quickness to wrestling.
RVB's role on the D is to help break down the Xs and Os for the younger guys.
RVB's mom is telling him to keep it up. "She's happy with the way we've been playing."
Lewan competes on each and every play, he shows the nasty streak in practices.
The D knew they had to come out aggressive to improve from the UMass game. Worked on tackling, but still need more improvement. "A lot better energy going into the game, and I just think we were a lot more focused."
The defense is versatile, they have a lot of different schemes, and can put guys in many positions to make plays. Can disguise things, etc.
"We definitely remember what it was like 4-0 last year. We know this year we can't get our heads big." Need to continue to progress.
"Playing at Notre Dame was a great experience." It gave the young guys a chance to get ready for a hostile atmosphere.
Indiana is a Big Ten team, the Wolverines can't look ahead to MSU. "No chance. We look at each game like it's the most important game of the season."
IU's receivers are another challenge to step up to. "They're definitely a talented bunch."
I'm basically done moving and have the internet again. It might take a little while to get caught up, but here's the weekly update with information about this past weekend's visits, and a little extra as always.
6'3", 278 lbs.
Flint, Michigan (Powers Catholic)
Danny is and will be one of the top in-state prospects for the 2012 class. He'll also be vital to Michigan as they'll be looking for a big-time defensive tackle in 2012. O'Brien was in Ann Arbor for the Bowling Green game and received some good news:
I was at the game with my Mom and Dad, and Coach Rodriguez came and talked to us right after his press conference. He said that he can't give me anything in writing until next August, but that I have a verbal offer from the University of Michigan. My Dad is a Michigan fan, so he was excited, me and my Mom were really excited too. It's a relief to know that I have that offer in hand now.
O'Brien has Michigan and Tennessee (his first offer) as his top two for now, but plans to take his time and some official visits. Michigan has had an advantage distance-wise, as Danny has been able to attend every home game so far this year. Their performance is also helping:
I really like how Coach Rod has turned the program around. Before the season everyone was talking bad about him, and that this was his last season with Michigan. He's shut everyone up about that with these wins. I also like how aggressive the defense is, and I like Mike Martin, too. Denard Robinson is obviously fun to watch also.
O'Brien has homecoming on October 9th, but said he still plans on showing up to Ann Arbor to watch Michigan take on MSU.
As a bonus, Danny is best friends with 2012 in-state DE/DT Matt Godin, who loves Michigan. Godin will also be at the MSU game, and has been talking to Danny about potentially playing together in college. If Michigan continues to have a good season then Michigan could push themselves in the lead quickly for O'Brien.
6'2", 185 lbs.
Sylvania, Ohio (Southview)
Gant is the son of former Wolverine Tony Gant, but has said in the past that he's a fan of Ohio State. Michigan has done some good things in Allen's mind both on the field and in his recruitment. He got a chance to see both in person this past weekend, and liked what he saw:
The visit was good, and I got a chance to talk with the coaches too. We mainly talked about how the season was going, how I was doing, and we talked a little about school and the recruiting process too.
Gant hasn't publicly stated a top group yet, and he told me he plans on taking his time with things so he can take in as many schools as possible:
I can't really say there's a top group yet, I'm mainly keeping my options open to anyone right now. I'm looking around the country to see what would fit me best. There's no top list, but Michigan is a school that I really like, and they'd be in the top group if there was one. I really like the football facilities, and it's a great atmosphere to play in.
Like O'Brien, Gant plans on taking his time with everything and taking visits. Allen will be one of the top prospects in Ohio for 2012, and looks to be an excellent national safety prospect as well. Michigan needs to continue what they're doing and continue the contact with Allen to stay in prime position.
- Georgia safety Avery Walls was named to the 2011 US Army All American Game. Michigan is still in a favorable position for Walls. He told me that he will be making his decision next month, after he visits Oregon this weekend, and Cal on October 9th. He's graduating early, so he wants to make sure he is accepted into his school of choice, and then he will make it public.
- Running back Demetrius Hart took a visit to Arkansas this past weekend, and will be heading out to Alabama this coming weekend with his mom. I said this on Twitter but I am, at this point, not concerned with Auburn. People were speculating on what that meant, and I think Alabama is a bigger threat at this point. The Auburn Rivals site had an article about Hart almost committing, which I can say 100% was not the case. Demetrius doesn't like to let anyone down, or hurt anyone's feelings. I'll tell you this too, there will be no more official visits after the Alabama game, but there could be another unofficial visit potentially in November. We'll see what happens.
Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.
Denard - "I talked to the trainers." He has a bruised knee, he'll be limited today but should be able to do everything tomorrow. You expect him to play? "Yes."
Fitzgerald Toussaint screwed up his shoulder, they're trying to determine the exact nature of the injury.
Rodriguez is optimistic Carvin Johnson should be able to play. Brandon Herron has been out with an ankle injury, but he should be able to play this week. Mike Williams is still out with (multiple) concussions. [Ed.: would not be surprised if that's it for Williams and he goes on a medical scholarship.]
Michael Shaw sprained his knee against BGSU. "He's kinda day-to-day," but should hopefully be full-go tomorrow.
Tate - "There's nothing wrong with his knee." He took a helmet shot to the quad.
"Denard is special. He's got the ability to break every play himself." The other guys are capable. "This is a physical game. Quarterbacks get hit." Runners or passers can both get hit. Run the same plays with all three QBs. They limit Denard's reps in practice by having him run plays that don't get him beat up in practice. He won't run as much. "Just blow a quicker whistle so he doesn't keep running 20 or 30 yards downfield."
Backup situation still the same? "Maybe. We'll see how they practice this week." Devin and Tate are both #2 guys to Denard. Within the next couple years, they'll have enough QB experience to do everything they want.
RBs - "Maybe the reason Denard had so many yards running is defenses were paying attention to the running backs." They've been running well since camp. A few nagging injuries have prevented RBs from being as productive as they can be. None of them are as explosive as Denard. RB rotation "We're probably gonna have to" for the rest of the year. Need to have 3 or 4 capable guys if they stay healthy. Toussaint probably doesn't get caught from behind without the knee brace. "He's faster than that." Wanted to play Toussaint more. "He's gotta be able to practice to get some confidence in him."
"Taylor [Lewan] played pretty well." A few mistakes, but good job for his first start. "Perry's playing really well." He has a toe sprain. Huyge gives flexibility there. Huyge is the first guy in at both tackle spots. They've been wanting to get Ricky Barnum into the game - he's the first guard in. Addressed Molk's penalty with him - didn't see it on coaches' film.
"Because we had the front coming back, not just the offensive line but the tight ends..." more receiver experience, QBs running it well has added another dimension. "I've been probably as pleased with what we've done in the passing game." QBs good decisions.
DL has gotten some pressure. RVB has been good, Greg Banks solid. "We're not really pleased that we're having as much depth as we'd like." Have lots of different packages to create a bit of pressure.
"Mike [Martin] has been one of the most consistent players we've had." He's been playing more than your average nose guard. "Mike's been dominant." He gets a lot of attention from opponents, but still lots of pressure.
Craig Roh is solid, and they've been able to do a lot of different things with him. "Jonas Mouton didn't have a good game against Umass, but he's played really well in all of our other games. Outstanding."
Pleasant surprises on D? "All those young DBs, playing so early." About 13 true frosh have played - most of them on D. Sometimes they're playing like true freshmen, sometimes they step up.
Hope the young defenders get some experience as the year goes on. Want to get/stay healthy there. Can play well and have success - doesn't mean they'll dominate people every game. "We expect our defense to play at a very high level, and they've got a lot of pride in doing that." Avery and Christian - "That was the most they've both played. Courtney will play a lot on special teams, too."
Does he remind players of last year? "I don't. It's in the past. Didn't you see the movie the Lion King, right?"
Michigan is sometimes a read-option team, sometimes a QB-iso team. "There's a lot more of our offense that'd we'd like to do, and are probably gonna have to do coming up."
"There's a lot of things that's cyclical in football... There's no patents on schemes, we know that." Might pick up things on opponent film that their previous opponents used against them successfully.
Gotten 8 turnovers this year, gave 2 right back. Will have to be more aggressive going forward. Played more aggressively than against UMass. "We didn't play great, but we played better." They have a physical day on Tuesdays, but in games they need to point out technique flaws to fix them. "It's hard to work [tackling] a lot during the week because you don't want to get your own guys banged up in practice."
Every year is different. "Not that we don't have some issues, because we do." Team is on the upswing, but not where they want to be yet. Will still have issues and problems, hopefully will stay healthy. "I think this year's team is executing pretty well, and playing pretty good at times. We know we have to play better."
Experienced receivers - "When you're inexperienced, it shows in certain facets, but the biggest thing it probably shows is in game adjustments." Players can help make those adjustments when they know those things.
"We had two #9s. We - I screwed that up." Officials didn't notice, but BGSU's coaches pointed it out. "Courtney's gonna, I believe, be #5. I think that number's open."
Tay Odoms penalty - "We've had quite a few discussions on a cut block" He can't go back toward the ball, seen other people not get flagged for it. "That's a clarification, and we're trying to get a couple other ones."
"We're trying to get those guys experience getting a first down in the red zone." on the last Gardner TD, when they went for it on fourth down.
"I usually defer. This is my 18th year as a head coach, and I would say except on a few rare on occasions, but I've almost always deferred." Defensive guys will be able to go out there and stop them.
New PR formation - "They were a team that had showed a lot of roll punting." Wanted to try to catch a low punt. Dileo did a nice job. Upset with ST penalties. Have to be on your toes on returns for various punt formations.
Saban mentioned MICH-Alabama "Nick knows more than I do." Both schools talking, nothing signed or delivered "Pretty interesting though, isn't it? Yeah, it's interesting."
Hoosiers only played 3 games, probably one of the healthiest teams in the Big Ten. "They probably had their best game last weekend." Added excitement going into the Big Ten for coaches and players. "Everything's gotta get cranked up a notch" in preparation.
Pistol - "It's a system. It's the same as any offense - if they execute it well, they're gonna have their moments." Last year, 1 or 2 big plays hurt MICH.
Can't blitz all the time without exposing yourself to 1-on-1s. Chappell is a veteran, need to use different methods to confuse him. Don't blow assignments to give him the cheap one. Make tackles on the short completions.
IU receivers - one of the strengths of their team. Big, athletic. MICH's young DBs - four true freshmen played. "We're gonna have to have a great week in preparing for their passing game and for those wideouts." Tandon Doss - they get the ball to him running, returning, and receiving.
IU hasn't seen a similar offense to MICH this year. They've changed defense a bit schematically. Lots of guesswork about how they'll handle our spread.
Seen some B10 games on TV. "This may be the strongest the Big Ten has been in years. For a long long time, for all 11 teams." League is tough and physical, the veterans know what league play is going to be like.
Younger guys have already played on the road - "That was the one good thing about going to Notre Dame." They've got a bit of road experience. They'll see that environment on the road for the rest of the year. Rich has never coached in Bloomington.