"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
The Toledo Blade is causing a tizzy with a piece headlined "Mallett planning to transfer", but the actual texty bits are not so strident:
There is speculation out of Ann Arbor that freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett has decided to leave Michigan and will transfer to UCLA, according to a person close to the team.
CYA to the max, but probably not a good sign.
Perhaps you can take comfort in this?
In his diary entry dated Dec. 30, [MI RB Jonas] Gray writes, "If I had to guess where Terrelle goes, I would say he ends up at Ohio State. I could still see him at Michigan, but he's going to watch the Ryan Mallett situation closely. I know Mallett is going to decide after the (Capital One) bowl game and if he decides to transfer, Terrelle Pryor is going to Michigan. I have a real good feel for that."
Stay stay stay. Questions about the commitment statuses of two of the more highly-rated commits have been answered. Sam McGuffie:
"He was just like, 'You've seen what Noel Devine has done and Steve Slaton, fast guys like that. We can get you the ball like that and incorporate you the same way.' That will be good. Just get me in space and let me shake some people."
"Where I stand right now, the day of the game, I'll make my commitment to Michigan," Cissoko said. "I actually got my hat in the bag. I talked to coach (Rich)Rodriguez and I talked to his staff also so right now everything is going smooth for me."
Meanwhile, Michigan is widely expected to have to deal with a re-recruiting job on one Ryan Mallett, the presumptive starter at quarterback next season should he choose to stick around. Rodriguez on his conversations to date with Mallett:
"I've talked to Ryan twice about it and told him our offensive system can really fit different skill players on offense whether you're a drop-back guy or a multi-purpose quarterback that can run or throw," Rodriguez said. "He's got to trust it. If he doesn't see his fit, that's his decision. We certainly hope he stays around. I think he's a talented young man who's got a lot of ability, and we can fit our system to the best quarterback."
Also of note in that article is one hell of a final, unexplained sentence: "In terms of recruiting for the 2008 class, Rodriguez said he expects to sign a full class of 25."
This would mean serious attrition. At the moment I think Michigan has 19 scholarships open, -- that's what the board says, anyway -- and that's with the projected departures of little-used seniors Grant DeBenedictis and Brett Gallimore (both have a fifth year available, but are unlikely to ever see the field). Mario Manningham's universally expected NFL departure is not included in that, and there are rumblings that Adrian Arrington, Terrance Taylor, and Tim Jamison could enter as well. If all those guys left, 1) that would suck and 2) that would still leave Michigan two scholarships short of 25. One additional departure possibility: redshirt freshman DT Jason Kates, who did not make the bowl trip for unexplained reasons.
Assistant rejiggeration. We know that OC Calvin Magee, recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson, and current Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson will be members of Rich Rodriguez' staff. We know that Ron English, who is now the defensive coordinator at Louisville will not. The assumption past those four was Rodriguez might retain a couple more Michigan assistants -- most likely some combination of Loeffler, Campbell, and Stripling -- and fill in the rest of the gaps with former Mountaineers. In the same article linked above, however, Rodriguez leaves the door open for some outside hires:
[Rodriguez] has not yet finalized his staff. "Not completely," Rodriguez said. "I have some, obviously, in mind. When all the bowl games are over, I'll complete it probably within a week."
Rodriguez said he has not completely ruled out rehiring others from Carr's staff.
"That's yet to be determined," Rodriguez said. "To be fair to everyone, I met with all the guys (on Dec. 20). They were very good, very professional about it. Obviously I'm very loyal to the staff I had at West Virginia, with several of them coming with me and several others, possibly, from other schools."
Probably the most important decision facing Rodriguez at this juncture is whether to bring over current WVU DC Jeff Casteel and continue using the 3-3-5, a defense often derided as doomed against the power rushing attacks that supposedly dominate the Big Ten.
But... like... why is it derided like so? West Virginia's rush defense rankings over the past several years:
That ugly "104" was the year that spurred WVU's shift to the 3-3-5; implementation of said saw their rush defense immediately fly up 74 spots. Since their implementation of the stack, WVU has never finished below average in run defense and has been top twenty the past few years.
Beating up on overmatched opponents? Perhaps. But this is a complete listing of West Virginia's front seven (eight, actually, as the stack is always an eight-man front) draft picks in the odd stack era:
2003 5 144 James Davis LB Detroit Lions
(FWIW, two corners were also taken. In general, the WVU draft history stands as a tribute to Rodriguez's coaching ability. He's had two first-day picks in the entirety of his tenure at WVU, though when Slaton comes out he'll likely make it three. Michigan doubles that in a good year. He must feel like a kid in a candy store.)
WVU does not appear to have a massive talent advantage against the Big East. There is probably something to the theory that one extra game against a nonconference chump helps the stats out, but that's a marginal effect at best.
Does West Virginia's explosive offense get teams behind so quickly that they abandon the run? This does not appear to be a major effect. Rush and pass attempts by WVU opponents the past three years:
|Year||Rush Att||Pass Att|
Over the past three years -- both the apex of Rodriguez' spread 'n' shred offense and West Virginia's run defense -- opponents have run more than half the time.
I went to the trouble of purchasing the 3-3-5 coaching thing video put out by Casteel and WVU the year after their switch, and the interesting thing about it was its complete and wholesale focus on the run game. Every time they explored how they lined up against an opponent, it was player X has the C gap, player Y has the A gap, with only cursory references to what's done in pass coverage. The 3-3-5 is a rush defense that's quite effective despite having all of one NFL player at its disposal during its tenure at West Virginia.
I know John Tenuta is sexy, the Scarlett Johannson of defensive coordinators, but Casteel has quietly assembled an innovative and effective system without a major talent advantage over his competition and would be an attractive candidate even if he was the recently freed coordinator at Georgia Tech instead of Rodriguez' right-hand man.
Note: I previously stated there would be no CapOne UFR due to its general irrelevance for the program going forward, but since that was a pass-based spread offense that seemed to incorporate many facets of what Rodriguez does said irrelevance no longer applies and I'll do one early next week. I'm also downloading a couple WVU games and will provide those later this month.
Videos galore. A pre-bowl fluff piece with Carr:
And Carr's final locker-room speech:
Highlights from the Big Ten Network are at MSC; damn if I can figure out how to embed it, though. There are also kips from frequent clip provider Chris at Dangerous Logic:
TSN has the Arrington catch in all its spectacular glory:
And finally, MSC also links to this BTN video of Shawn Crable calling out Kirk Herbstreit:
Not sure of the wisdom of calling out someone for saying you have no D after giving up 35 points, but whatever.
Torrent is up here; Ten Yard Torrents registration required.
VEQ? Miscommunication, poor scheduling, and a post-Independence-Bowl -drinking-game induced screwup meant Orson and I did not hook up. And yes, I mean it just like that.
So, right. Tomorrow at 1 PM Michigan plays Florida. This is what we know:
Run Offense vs. Florida
Mike Hart's ankle injury seemed innocuous in the aftermath of the Purdue game, but quickly metastasized into a season-crippling disaster that lingered for the rest of the year. Though he played against Michigan State and Ohio State, he missed games against Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and was ineffective even when in the game.
Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown were adequate to good against Illinois and Minnesota, non-factors against Michigan State, and swarmed under against Wisconsin; OSU had a steady diet of TFLs against a gimpy Hart and a lost offensive line.
Florida's 11th-ranked rushing offense appears to pose a stiff test, but a closer look reveals an inconsistent unit that benefited from a soft rushing schedule. Florida State was 96th nationally, South Carolina 101st, and a large portion of the rest of the schedule was Troy and Florida Atlantic and Vandy. Against teams in the same approximate range as Michigan's #44 ranking -- which is may be distorted postively by Michigan's run-pass distribution (56% run) but is also distorted negatively by Hart's extended absence -- this is how Florida did:
|Team||Rush Off||Att v UF||Yards v UF||YPC v UF|
(Note that QB and "team" carries were excised for everyone except Auburn's Kodi Burns and LSU's duo -- LSU uses a lot of option and QB draws even with Flynn in the game -- as Florida racked up a large number of sacks in certain games, distorting the totals. Team carries are almost always kneeldowns. Sacks are passing events and will be dealt with in another section.)
This concludes the pulse-bearing rush attack section of the Florida schedule. There is one dominant performance, one pretty good one, and three decidedly meh ones. I tentatively declare Florida's rush defense a paper tiger.
Will this matter given Michigan's downright dismal performances against Wisconsin and Ohio State? I lean towards no. Michigan's scheme has been void of new ideas since the Oregon game and is currently trying to make do with a terribly out-of-shape Alex Mitchell as a starter. Steve Schilling has also been ineffective most of the year, though more prominently in pass pickup, and Carson Butler is guaranteed to pick up one holding penalty and utterly whiff on three other blocks. There are too many points of failure, and Michigan's run offense is probably closer to the Tennessee-Auburn level than that of the three teams that seriously torched
Key Matchup: Mike Hart versus His Traitorous Ankle. I should have an actual matchup for the Ohio State game, but nothing will impact Michigan's run game more than the status of Hart's gimpy wheel.
Pass Offense vs. Florida
Ohio State preview:
This preview assumes that Chad Henne will play; if he does not please substitute "HEAD FOR THE HILLS! ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE!" for the text in this space.
Henne did play, but was obviously broken. If he remains broken you can feel free to change the channel at halftime. The current state of injury rumor suggests that this may be the case, but we won't know until Henne starts throwing. More ducks like the OSU game and it'll be a long day. If he's on, really on, like Henne at his apex, Michigan can keep it close and maybe pull it out with a bounce or two, but I don't think anyone's banking on that anymore.
This is where the Gator sacks come in: though they racked up huge numbers against Auburn and Kentucky above, Florida was actually pretty average at this: 58th nationally at just over two per game. UF has a couple of decent-to-good defensive ends -- as a true sophomore, Jermaine Cunningham is definitely promising -- but no one on the level of OSU terror Vernon Gholston. With some help for Schilling, Michigan may be able to forestall the Florida pass rush decently. This would allow them access to the Gator achilles heel, their crappy defensive backs. Every time people are surveyed about Michigan's preferred strategy in this game someone says "attack Florida's crappy defensive backs with your excellent receivers," and this makes sense around these parts, too.
The catch: Henne's shoulder was separated in the Illinois game and held together until Wisconsin, at which point he left the game and Michigan collapsed to two straight season-ending losses. Will it be better? Dunno. But I bet you can guess the next section...
Key Matchup: Henne versus his traitorous shoulder. Unless he's a lot better than he was against OSU, we dead.
Run Defense vs. Florida
Ohio State preview:
I'm looking for a way this won't be ugly and can't find one.
What do you get when you combine Armanti Edwards, Chris Wells and jean shorts?
Goddammit. The progenitor of the term "OMG shirtless," Tim Tebow went from uber-recruit to Heisman winner in two years. Michigan's rush defense has had two weaknesses this year: the zone read and interior running. Given this, Tim Tebow is hell in pads. Then there's Kehstan Moore, mighty mite Brandon James, and Percy Harvin.
Percy Harvin. Goddammit. Percy Harvin is also an uber-recruit, and every time I watch him play I'm reminded of this:
Considering that Ohio State's quarterback spent the day doing his best Jimmah Clausen impression and Tressel gave up on anything not totally predictable as soon as he got a two-score lead, Michigan did an okay job on Chris Wells aside from a 62-yard touchdown jaunt and several other trips into the secondary.
Key Matchup: Uh... Tebow versus cowering.
Pass Defense vs. Florida
This has been a pleasant surprise. Morgan Trent matured into a respectable corner and Donovan Warren has turned out to be worthy of his recruiting hype. Brandon Harrison had a fine year as the teams nickelback and even if the safeties weren't great they were fairly competent. A soft schedule helped, but Michigan still finished the year 13th in pass efficiency defense.
Problem: checking Florida's passing efficiency reveals a big shiny #1
. Tebow is not just a runner but an excellent passer; his ability to be a one-man play action only heightens his crazy ninja football skils. Harvin is a terror here, too; three other Florida receivers have more than thirty catches. This is an advanced, diverse, and threatening pass offense that plays off the Florida run game to excellent effect. Maybe Michigan could find a weakness here if they took away said run game -- Florida is even more run-heavy than Michigan, rushing the ball on 58% of their snaps -- but that is extremely unlikely to happen.
Key Matchup: Trent/Warren on Harvin? Hard to pick out anything in particular here, as Brandon Graham stopped being a dominant pass rusher once teams started running at him constantly and there is no #1 threat for Michigan to shut down amongst the panoply of Florida wideouts.
- Henne looks un-improved.
- The team looks listless. (IE: the team looks like it's looked most of the year.)
- Mallett transfers at halftime.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- We did hire Rich Rodriguez. And they'll probably talk about that. Cackle then.
Fear/Paranoia Level: 10 out of 10. (Baseline 5; +1 for Chrisanti Edwells, +1 for Yeah, We're Still Frickin' Gimpy, +1 for Not A Virtual Road Game, An Actual Road Game, +1 for And No One Cares, I Bet This Extends To The Players, +1 for Real Chance of Tennessee Replay).
Desperate need to win level: 2 out of 10. (Baseline 5, -3 for Who Cares?, -1 for I'd Rather Watch The 2005 Sugar Bowl, -1 for This Has No Bearing On The Future, +1 for I'd Like To See Hart Win Something, Anything, +1 for SEC Fans Are So Annoying)
Loss will cause me to... UFR WVU games.
Win will cause me to... UFR WVU games.
The strictures and conventions of sportswriting compel me to predict:
We lose bad. This team has been disjointed and disinterested most of the year, and now they know they're in this bowl they don't deserve to be in against a team that's probably a lot better than them; the coaching staff is getting replaced wholesale, to boot.
And we're playing some sort of awful hybrid Michigan kryptonite, and it's a 100% road game, and it appears that one or both of Hart/Henne will not be 100%. Woo! Shoot me.
Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:
- 4 Michigan fans attend.
- They're pretty pissed off.
- Florida, 35-17.
|So last year Ohio State frequently lined up Ted Ginn just outside of the tackle or right end about five or six yards off the LOS. 90% of the time this was shotgun, and this was dubbed the "Shot-Ginn," which is fine because jargon like that communicates complex ideas quickly.
So OSU's first play is sort of that, except with Boeckman under center, Wells lining up in a standard tailback position, and Ray Small in the shot-ginn position, except of course this isn't the shotgun and this isn't Ted Ginn. But anyway, when OSU does this it will be noted as such. This is a three WR set that gets Michigan in a nickel; Harrison is actually playing as a sort of WLB to Small's side. OSU fakes a dive to Wells, then runs an end-around to Small out of said I-Ginn. Jamison(+1) is unblocked and maintains contain, forcing Small to take a long detour; Will Johnson(+1) uses the time Jamison buys him and takes Small down behind the LOS.
|Player intros: Jim Cordle looks sixteen and Steve Rehring has a future in ogre-dom. Michigan shows eight in the box, then backs out; Ohio State runs it right up the gut. Taylor(-1) doesn't hold up well against a double and Ezeh(-1) is very hesitant, allowing Wells to move up in the hole despite Johnson doing a decent job and CGraham taking out the fullback early.|
|Ezeh(+1) reads Boeckman's eyes and starts drifting over towards the slant that Harrison's covering; Harrison's gotten a bit of jam, too. He comes off it (cover +1) and takes off; Ezeh(-1) gives the point right back by overrunning it and allowing the conversion.|
|O46||1||10||Ace Bunch||Base 4-3||Run||6||Dive|
|A single back set with two TEs, both of them to the short side of the field; they are inverted; a WR is out there with them. Michigan shifts away from the strength of the formation a bit but has Crable as a sort of short-side corner obviously in zone. They run at the apparent gap in the Michigan formation; BGraham(+1) holds up pretty well and two Michigan players meet Wells for what should be a meh gain; Adams(-1) and Ezeh miss their tackles and allow him to spin three into six.|
|M48||2||4||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Run||5||Iso|
|Taylor(+1) does a great job getting through his man, forcing the fullback to take him. (And take him he does with an absolutely crushing block; not really TT's fault). Still, this is an ISo play stripped of the FB by a DL and it works. Why? CGraham(-1) runs up into a blocker and gets his little stubby arms engulfed. Crable comes around from the backside.|
|Michigan stunting here and is unfortunate to be stunting right into a play set up to handle it; BGraham runs right into a guy who's doubled TT and moves to the second level. Ezeh's blitzing himself out of the play; CGraham(-1) is clocked by the FB; big hole. Wells makes a questionable read, cutting it back inside, and falls as BG(+1) gets off his block and forces a cut a bit harder than he wanted.|
|M40||2||7||I-Form||Base 5-2||Pass||3||PA TE Drag|
|First pass comes with token draw play action; corners bail out deep and Boeckman checks down. Adams(+1, cover +1) is right there to tackle for minimal gain. (Additional cover +1 for the deep routes.)|
|M37||3||4||Shot-ginn 5WR||Nickel Press||Pass||Int||Flag|
|Wow, M in press man with a single deep safety. A very Arkansas w/ Chris Houston thing to do. Boeckman calls TO; M and OSU line up in the same fashion when they come out of the TO. This play is all marginal: Jamo gets cut a bit but stays up, so does he hurry the throw? The throw is a terrible one, way short, on a flag route Trent got torched on.
He recovers and manages not to draw a flag by whipping his head around and attempting to locate the ball when he notices Hartline slowing up. Could this be PI? Maybe. Hartline, OTOH, kind of tackles Trent in an attempt to prevent the INT.
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0 10 min 1st Q. No surprises so far from the D: bad linebackers kill all. On replay I think Trent has the recovery speed to deal with Hartline on this. Tressel punts on 3rd and 4 from the 37 and gets what he deserves: touchback.|
|Trent in very soft coverage on Robiskie; OSU takes the easy out, though it's looped and this removes any YAC opportunity. (Cover -1)|
|O38||2||4||Ace Bunch||Base 5-2||Run||1||Delay Iso(?)|
|Same setup on both sides of the ball as the previous Ace Bunch play; M clearly has a gameplan for this. Crable(+1) is blitzing off the snap; since he's very nominally lined up as a corner the TEs ignore him and he's in unblocked, albeit from a position not often associated with success. He gets hand on the passing Wells; Johnson(+1) has fought inside his man and ends the play. Taylor effectively singled blocked by Cordle. As for Iso(?): there's no FB, but the play is a delayed handoff and the RG pulls around to act much like a lead blocker would.|
|O39||3||3||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||5||Short In|
|Play design is clearly a pick w/ the TE coming to rub as the WR takes a little in route. M is in zone, which should be advantage M. CGraham can't get there in time, but this was generally well executed by OSU and it's hard to blame him. Immediate tackle.|
|O44||1||10||Shotgun Empty 2TE||Base 4-3||Pass||-5||Fumbled Snap|
|Right, you're all like ??? about the formatioin, but yeah there you go: base personnel for OSU, Wells split wide. Would have been interesting to see what they intended to do with this, but this is the first Boeckman fumble pratfall. Probably irrelevant, as a clever blitz got Crable(+1) in unblocked in the interior. (Pressure +1)|
|O39||2||15||I-Form 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||-8||Free sack|
|Adams comes up as a seventh guy in the box, and again we don't know what would happen because as Boeckman drops to throw, presumably deep with his 7-step drop, he slips to the turf.|
|A give-up-and-punt playcall that doesn't even get the five or so yards it should because Michigan stunts into it; Jamison(+1) blows his guy into the backfield â€“ his guy is an interior lineman! -- and forces Wells to change direction; he slips, too.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0 6 min 1st Q. I liked those plays.|
|O27||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||15 (pen)||Fade|
|Adams up as a blitzer, Michigan in an aggressive press again with a cover-one behind it. Warren(-2) does interfere here, getting behind Robiskie and grabbing him to prevent a completion. (Cover -1)|
|O42||1||10||I-Form Big||Jumbo 5-3||Run||2||Iso|
|Pollack in as the SLB. They again double Taylor and attack the gap between him and BG â€“ part of the gameplan to go after BG, who was pretty shaky against MSU's power running? Ezeh(+1) manages to get the guard peeling off the double on his heels a bit, forcing Wells to slow in the hole. BG(+1) has beaten his guy to the inside and comes back to tackle; Adams also there. BG leaves the game, injured.|
|Adams brought as a late blitzer; both LBs charging at the snap. A lead delay; CGraham(+1) reads it well and avoids the peeling C, leaving two LBs against one blocker. CGraham makes contact at the LOS... and misses the tackle(-1). He did slow him enough for help to arrive relatively quickly.|
|Wells motions out; Boeckman drops to throw and drops the ball without provocation. Another free sack.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 15 min 2nd Q. They had a Clausen exorcism after this.|
|Same play as the Delay Iso earlier; this time CGraham(+1) attacks it well, getting to the FB in the backfield and making a tackle at the LOS.|
|M43||2||9||I-Form Big||Jumbo 5-3||Pass||5||Waggle|
|Delay fake and a Boeckman rollout; the TE has gotten outside Crable(-1); Adams(+1) reads it and tracks him down for minimal YAC. (Cover -1)|
|M38||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Slant|
|Quick drop; Harrison(-1, cover -1) beat in one-on-one man.|
|M29||1||10||Ace Bunch||Base 5-2||Pass||7||Out|
|Trent in soft coverage and OSU takes advantage. (Cover -1)|
|M22||2||3||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||5||Iso|
|Taylor(-1) blown out and buried by a single block. Ezeh clubbed out of the hole by the FB; no chance to prevent the first.|
|Pulling guard takes out Crable blitzing from the outside and an ill-fated stunt gets Jamison out of the outside lane. result: acres. Englemon(-1) misses a tackle after a few yards; Adams tracks Wells down at the five.|
|M5||1||G||Shotgun Empty||Nickel||Run||4||QB Draw|
|Empty backfield inside the five? Not technically an ISQD, but as close as you can get. Ezeh(+1) actually does a great job of plowing the pullling guard and getting a hand on Boeckman to prevent the TD.|
|Well, when Wells meets Brandent Englemon head-on needing a yard we all know how that battle ends.|
|Drive Notes: TD, 3-7, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|Big gap opens up between BGraham(-1) and Johnson(-1). Michigan's linebackers are on a stunt blitz; CGraham does a good job getting to the right side of the FB, but the hole's too big to close.|
|O47||2||2||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||1||Iso|
|Jamison(+2) gets inside the tackle and forces the pulling guard to take him, then slips past said guard to make a tackle for no gain.|
|O48||3||1||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||2||Iso|
|Well played by M; Wells bowls over Banks for the first.|
|50||1||10||Ace Twins||Base 5-2||Pass||Inc||Deep comeback|
|Plenty of time as M rushes four (pressure -1); Taylor is particularly ineffective. Boeckman waits, then throws awkwardly off his back foot; ball is off target. Coverage evidently good. (Cover +1)|
|Either well-read or poorly executed; Crable reads this and makes the throw a bit difficult by leaping in the passing lane; tough catch for Wells and it's dropped. Wasn't going anywhere anyway. (Cover +1)|
|50||3||10||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||3||Scramble|
|Jamison(+1) swims outside the tackle, then slashes up past the TE to get to Boeckman before the play can develop. Boeckman scrambles out as Jamison misses the tackle, but this drive's over (Pressure +2).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 5 min 2nd Q.|
|O4||1||10||I-Form Big||Jumbo 5-3||Run||3||Iso|
|Standard: distressing hole, good FB block and decent LB play; Adams comes up to tackle.|
|O7||2||7||I-Form Big||Base 5-3||Run||1||Iso|
|Taylor(+1) plows his guy back and into the path of the FB; Wells cuts behind and has unblocked players up the wazoo. Good job by Banks to flow down the line, too.|
|Taylor(+2) shoots past his guy and is hog-tied to the ground, drawing a holding flag. Wells falls over the mess, ending the drive.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 2 min 2nd Q. Tressel has already pulled in the horns, no?|
|Should really be a no-gainer as both linebackers have shown up in the approximate hole well and there's only one blocker. CGraham(+1) cuts off the inside; Ezeh(-1) somehow manages to get shoved and contrives to let Wells between himself and the OL.|
|Warren comes up, forcing Wells inside of him; Graham(-1) has gotten blocked out of the play but Ezeh has beaten his blocker... just in time to get run over by Wells. Is this his fault? I dunno.|
|Boeckman has all day despite a blitzer (pressure -2), eventually finding Robiskie open for a 15-ish yard gain in front of Warren, w
ell off. (Cover -1)
|CGraham is flaring out to cover a short TE out and in doing so looks like he's about to cover Boeckman's slant; Boeckman hesitates. (Cover +1). Jamison(+1, pressure +1) bowls over Wells and Boeckman decides to attempt to scramble, getting nowhere.|
|Tape only has a replay of this. Crable(+1) shoots in on a blitz, inducing Boeckman to fling a duck off his back foot that Englemon makes an easy interception off of. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 3-7, 30 sec 2nd Q.|
|O38||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||62||Iso|
|A simple iso play is the game-killing dagger, and the fault is all on the safeties. Adams(-2) is coming forward at the snap but fails to fill the hole between Crable and Banks, instead getting caught inside where Ezeh is taking on the FB. Banks gets a -1 for getting driven back badly and making this a more difficult play for Adams. So this puts Wells into the secondary for what should be a 20-yarder or so; Englemon(-2) is in position to make a tackle but overruns it, falling, and Wells runs to the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-14, 14 min 3rd Q. Sadly, the main thought in my head was "this game's over" and that didn't seem like unwarranted pessimism to anyone around me.|
|Taylor(-1) gets a bit of a bump from a second man after standing up the first guy; this knocks him off kilter and he ends up pancaked. BGraham(-1) failed to take advantage of the opportunity to get inside the tackle and there's a gaping hole that linebackers can only close after a significant gain.|
|O38||2||4||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||12||Iso|
|Ezeh(-1) stood up by the blocker; BG(-1) completely dominated by the LT. Adams misses a tackle and Wells looks like he could be headed for the endzone until he slips to the ground.|
|Englemon an additional guy in the box, allowing both linebackers to come up into the hole, which is between the C and G. CGraham(+1), unblocked, sticks Wells in the hole.|
|M49||2||9||I-Form Twins||Base 4-3||Run||4||Iso|
|Saine in. A Crable blitz blows up the FB in the backfield and forces Saine outside, where CGraham(-1) should have an angle for a no-gain tackle; he overruns it and misses it. The Crable-induced delay means this is only a mediocre gain anyway.|
|Taylor(-1) crushed backwards by a double team; Michigan is blitzing Ezeh from the outside leaving only CGraham to combat this run up the middle. He actually does a decent job given the situation â€“ Taylor's inability to hold the POA has made it impossible to flow to the ball. It's still a first down as Saine manages to fall forward.|
|M39||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||2||Iso|
|Slocum in, getting decent push. Ezeh is submarined by the FB; Slocum(+1) peels off to tackle after a small gain.|
|Both safeties moving to the LOS at the snap. Englemon fills a hole near the LOS; OSU simply doesn't have enough blockers to get a hat on him.|
|Harrison(+1) sent on a corner blitz and is roped to the ground; no call. Since Boeckman doesn't know Harrison's going to get tackled, he starts scrambling around, eventually throwing the ball away. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 8 min 3rd Q. The remote defensibility of this OSU punt is sad, sad, sad.|
|Will Johnson(-2) is momentarily doubled, then hurled to the ground. He was caught out as the NT on this play as OSU switched the strongside by motioning the tight end and Michigan didn't do their customary tackle flip. CGraham has to deal with the Johnson chipper and cannot â€“ no surprise at this point in his career. Wells into the secondary.|
|M41||1||10||Ace Bunch||Base 5-2||Run||4||Iso|
|TE from the bunch comes in motion to act as a lead blocker; another Iso. This one goes better as Johnson manages to hold up decently, though not exactly spectacularly. The chip guy is delayed and can't get out in time to block Ezeh; Johnson dives at Wells' feet near the LOS; the two combine to tackle.|
|Taylor(+1) stands up a couple blockers, jamming up the intended POA, and Ezeh fills the weakside hole at the LOS. Wells slips trying to cut.|
|Michigan blitzing right into this; Ezeh(+1) evades Cordle and is into the backfield, as is Adams.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 4 min 3rd Q.|
|O19||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||-1||Iso|
|Safety blitz from Englemon forces Wells to cut away from the FB. Taylor(+1) has stood up a single block and Ezeh cuts in to make a TFL.|
|O18||2||11||I-Form Big||Jumbo 5-3||Run||1||Iso|
|Patterson(+1), slanting, occupies one blocker and plows him into a second; Wells soon follows. He bounces off, then meets Crable.|
|Jamison(+1) maintains QB responsibility â€“ not hard on third and ten â€“ forcing Boeckman to chuck it into the ground. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 14 min 4th Q.|
|O9||1||10||I-Form Big||Jumbo 5-3||Run||3||Iso|
|Right, same thing as before. Ezeh scrapes well and Englemon fills.|
|O12||2||7||Ace Bunch||Base 5-2||Run||0||Delay|
|Nine guys near the LOS, Michigan swarming to the ball as OSU runs the only run play they've used out of this formation today.|
|Give up and punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 11 min 4th Q. Tressel has packed it in, obviously.|
|O26||1||10||I-Form Twins||Base 5-2||Run||5||Iso|
|Good job by Johnson; Ezeh(-1) crushed downfield and pancaked.|
|Okay. I don't care. I just don't care. Something happens on this play and Ohio State gains four yards.|
|O35||3||1||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||0||Iso|
|Still don't care.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 8 min 4th Q.|
|O33||1||10||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||4||Iso|
|Good job by Crable(+1) to cut off the outside; Ezeh defeats the FB block and tackles.|
|O37||2||6||I-Form Big||Base 5-2||Run||-1||Iso|
|Slocum in; pushes his guy back into the backfield and tackles for loss.|
|Jamison shoots in unblocked and ends this in the backfield.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 4 min 4th Q. This game has ended.|
You don't care?
Uh... sorry. This enterprise has seemed irrelevant, though. What does it tell us about Michigan's future? Virtually nothing, as the coaches are gone and this 3-3-5 stack is coming in. What does it tell us about Michigan's game against Florida? Virtually nothing, as Florida runs an offense diametrically opposed to Ohio State's. Pants.
Well, the performance seemed okay.
The defense gets an incomplete, IMO. A couple first-half drives were stopped by (literal) pratfall instead of any swarming viciousness on the part of Wolverine defenders; Tressel packed up shop after the Wells touchdown run, figuring that an obviously-broken Henne and an offensive line that couldn't block anyone (this, on one particular play, was also literal) was not likely to throw up two touchdowns in the second half. And it's just not that hard to stop an offense that doesn't complete a pass, as anyone who read the offensive UFR knows.
|Jamison||7||-||7||After a dismal performance versus Wisconsin, was the D's best player.|
|Taylor||6||4||2||Positive day, but a disappointing one nonetheless. Given his status as Michigan's most consistently disruptive DT and the steady diet of iso plays, he should have had a bigger impact.|
|Slocum||2||-||2||Shaping up to be a force next year.|
|Thompson||-||-||-||DNP, I think.|
|Ezeh||4||5||-1||Needs to make a leap next year.|
|Trent||-||-||-||Gave up a couple outs, otherwise not tested much.|
|Warren||-||2||-2||Just the one PI.|
|Englemon||-||3||-3||Critical missed tackle on the long Wells TD.|
|"Pressure"||7||3||4||Hardly any throwing, but a decent job of getting to Boeckman when he did.|
Jamison was a standout, frequently getting to guys in the backfield and not being directly liable for any of the long Wells runs.
Taylor should have done better against a steady diet of interior running; the linebackers were meh; the safeties combined to yield OSU's second touchdown.
What does it mean for Florida?
As noted, not much.
Just don't. I know it's here. That doesn't mean you have to read it. Every play found worthy has a video clip associated with it.
|OSU in a base set; Michigan gets tricky by not running zone left on the first play of the game. It's a straight go route and it's well covered and it's badly underthrown and to the inside and it is not, in fact, all that clever. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Good coverage everywhere, btw.|
|Neither is the second-and-ten draw particularly clever, and Ohio State has a safety rolled up so he's nearly in the box at the snap, and he's moving forward, and just... well. I think it's kind of fitting the Carr-Debord era ended with these two shocking playcalls Michigan had clearly set OSU up for all season â€“ we run left first play always lol â€“ and they just didn't work. Fish. Anyway, this probably shouldn't work but Mitchell (+1) gets a great, crushing block on his guy and drives him downfield and Laurinaitis gets caught up in wash he shouldn't and Hart has a seam.|
|Or a zag or something. This doesn't actually have a circle but it's a slant-out, and it's open for the first down. Henne overthrows it. (IN, 1, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 4th Q. This will quickly become the story of the day: Henne is just broken. Well. There are competing stories, the other being "AAARGH SCHILLING".|
|Wide open out that should probably go for a first, looped out all Clausen-like, though, and kept down. Henne obviously has no arm strength. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|We miss this play recapping Michigan's season.|
|Butler kept in to block on the waggle side, so Henne has plenty of time. He fires well high of a covered McLaurin, but it appeared everyone was completely covered and he had nowhere to go; the decision here was probably the best available: try to make a near-impossible throw to a well-covered guy. This is sad. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|M49||2||10||Ace Twins||Run||9||Hart||Inside Zone|
|Very well blocked. Long crushes the nearside DT; Kraus gets his head across the weakside DT, and Boren, executing a zone double w/ Long, helps kick out the Dt then crushes Freeman. Hart bursts into the secondary, spinning through Freeman for near first-down yardage. (+1 for all! They're not tracked, but who cares!)|
|O42||3||1||I-Form Big||Pass||5||Arrington||Long handoff|
|Arrington's brought in motion and, as is often the case in these situations, the corner is forced to loop around his defense to follow and is not able to press at the LOS. This gets Arrington the room to catch this ball and make first-down yardage. I like this call and how aware it is of little football fobiles. (CA, 3)|
|We come to this play late, but just in time to see it happen. Kraus(+1) is doubling a DT with Mitchell as two OSU LBs fire into the hole; Moundros chops Freeman as Kraus does a fantastic job to make a late peel and pick off Laurnaitis, allowing Hart a cutback lane behind him and a significant gain.|
|A number of short zone stretch routes designed to pick up the first down by providing Henne easy targets; Butler comes open and Henne hits him. Ver' nice pickup from Hart on Gholston on a protection slide. (CA, 3 protection 1/1)|
|O25||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||12||Hart||Inside Zone|
|I was informed by a couple people that the block previously termed "handoff" in a bit of made-up jargon was actually a "scoop" block; this is a scoop blocked play. Boren fires off in to the DT and hands him off to Kraus; Kraus then pounds the guy backwards. Mitchell(+1) gets a nice downfield cut on Freeman and once Hart pops through the scoop-created hole he's got room to motor.|
|O13||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|OSU blitzes right into this with perfect timing; Freeman into the backfield unblocked, forcing a cutback. Hart slips and falls; if he hadn't there was the possibility to pick up a few yards.|
|Gholston completely destroys Schilling(-3). Gholston then sacks. No chance for Henne, who would have had a shot at Arrington on a post for a TD otherwise. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|O20||3||17||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||5||Butler||TE Out|
|Pretty bad decision here spurred by an OSU blitz. It's picked up and there's man cover all over the field. Henne takes the dumpoff that gets Michigan very little. Tenuously CA, but suspicious. (CA-, 3, protection 3/3)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 3-0, 1 min 1st Q. Goodbye, scoring.|
|M18||1||10||Ace 3-Wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone counter|
|Difficult to tell what happens here, but Butler pulls around a la those plays against Oregon, but Hart does not cut back, instead running into Gholston, who's beaten Schillng at the line. Failure there was irrelevant though, as Freeman was unblocked due to the TE pull. Misread by Hart, IMO.|
|Hart offset and Butler out wide; pass all the way. Henne throws an out to Tacopants that's nearly intercepted. It's at this point his ain't-rightness is an obvious factor. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Long(-1) not infallible! OSU sends the two guys on the right side of the line on a late developing stunt that gets the DT in through a gap between Long and Boren. Falling, the DT sacks Henne, though he had time to survey the field for a bit previous. (TA, 0, protection 1/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Big||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|OSU's DT shoots past Boren(-1); Hart manages to move past him. Mitchell's lost his block on the ba ckside, otherwise Hart might have a hole on the interior. As it is he's forced to run up Long's back a nd get what he can.|
|A late cut to the play because we're focused on the band. Anger! Hard to tell what happens as a result, but one of the OSU DTs has dove forward and taken out a couple of Michigan OL. Freeman is unblocked, and Hart gets nowhere.|
|This might have been an out or something. As it is, it's a comeback that floats out to Manningham. It's short; Manningham does a good job to dig it out. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M34||1||10||Ace||Run||-10 (pen)||Hart||Zone left|
|I don't know what Hart's thinking here, as the Buckeye LB is clearly set up outside of Butler here and there's a potential lane to cut up in. He takes it outside, where Butler(-1) duly holds his guy, still doesn't block him very well. Washington comes up for the TFL.|
|Hey, guess who's not fooled even a little bit by this? Those guys. Freeman bolts into the backfield unblocked.|
|Thrown well upfield and glances off Manningham's diving hand. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Schilling(-2) owned by Gholston. Henne rolls out and throws it away. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 7 min 2nd Q.|
|M21||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||2||Hart||FB Zone counter|
|We shoot the FB to the backside DE, so this is sort of a counter. Problem: eight guys in the box; Mitchell is blown back by the DT here, allowing Laurinaitis in unblocked; the eighth guy in the box comes through the weakside hole. Hart has nowhere to go.|
|Hart lined up at WR but motions in; M takes an out to Manningham. No zip on these. (CA-, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Gholston owns Schilling(-2); Henne hit as he throws. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 3 min 2nd Q. Zoltan murders a punt.|
|Stop route right in Manningham's hands is dropped, though it was going for five at most as someone was shooting out into the flat. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Completed for a decent gain, but again looped out and little YAC opportunity. We're also avoiding the middle of the field like whoah. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O45||3||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Skinny post|
|Henne's best throw of the day so far, a skinny post that's a little behind Manningham but for good reason, as it needs to fit in a place in the zone. Eminently catchable all the same; Manningham drops it. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 2 min 2nd Q. A truly killer drop there, and a truly killer missed opportunity going into the half.|
|Thrown late, giving Jenkins an opportunity to break on it, and sailed. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Good protection; Henne pumps once then throws it to no one in particular. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Checkdown; OSU has it well covered and there's no YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG (48), 3-7, EOH.|
|Kraus(-2) gets driven back into the path of the FB, who piles into him; Hart soon follows. Result: loss.|
|Freeman is all over this, actually batting it down like a DB. We used to be good at these, right? (CA, 0)|
|Thrown wide, well into the sideline. No chance for Arrington. Well covered, FWIW. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-7, 14 min 3rd Q. Well, that's an inspiring way to start the second half. Wells goes for a touchdown on the next play from scrimmage and Michigan is looking at a two-score deficit.|
|The multiple-stops we run with some frequency. Henne comes off Arrington and eventually finds Butler for a moderate gain. Good protection. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M27||2||2||Ace 3-Wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|Excellently timed corner blitz gets Jenkins in unblocked and turns this play into no gain. It's like they have some idea what we'll run. Without the blitz this is meh but likely enough for the first down.|
|Completely overthrown. Hello, Tacopants. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 12 min 3rd Q.|
|Standard TE dumpoff that looks open for a nice gain; OSU closes quickly. (CA, 3)|
|M23||2||5||I-Form Twins||Run||-3||Hart||Inside Zone|
|Must be some miscommunication, because Mitchell doubles down on Gholston as Kraus moves to the second level, leaving a DT wholly unblocked; he engulfs Hart.|
|Woo! Tacopants! Not going for more than two yards even if completed. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 6 min 3rd Q. Next drive is Mallett's.|
|We're watching Henne trot off the field as the play snaps, and so miss the privelige of watching Carson Butler (probably) whiff badly. Hart snowed under after no gain.|
|Good protection; Mallett provides a throw with actual velocity, but it's behind Arrington, forcing him to the ground to catch this ball and removing any YAC possibilities. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M28||3||2||I-Form Big||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|OSU slants right tat the snap and attempts to shoot a linebacker between Gholston and a blitzing Jenkins, but Helmuth manages to get enough of Jenkins, Gholston's slant takes him out of the play, and Butler actually gets a good block. There's a hole, and Michigan gets the first down.|
|Well, sort of. Jenkins is all over Arrington here, drawing an obvious PI... except that the ball is ten yards past the pair as it looks like Mallett's throwing a flag and Arrington's running an out. Probably should have been uncatchable, though you might have gotten Jenkins for holding anyway.|
|M49||1||10||I-Form||Run||-8 (pen)||Hart||Zone left|
|So Michigan's actually got something resembling a drive started, Hart finds a crease and goes for eight on first down, and what brings it back? If you said "Carson Butler holding penalty," give yourself a pat on the back. But a small one: this trivia is strictly $200 Jeopardy! stuff.|
|Gholston destroys Long(-2) this time and sacks Mallett. Michigan's run the "everyone stop" routes again, which OSU has covered well, and Mallett's hesitation ends poorly. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Hey, Mallett, if we wanted our QB to overthrow his receiver by yards we'd have Henne in. Mmmm. Bitter. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Arrington's beaten Washington downfield here and actually has a shot at a catch and run for the first down; Mallett throws it well behind him. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 1 min 3rd Q. Henne returns.|
|A bit of a variant here with the TEs staying in to block the weakside DE. Henne has all day to throw and tries for Manningham deep; well underthrown. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Mark Moundros 1) doesn't line up on the LOS out at WR and 2) completely whiffs his block on Washington. Result: loss.|
|Oh, I'd forgotten about this one. Henne believes he's doing a check, lifting his leg then approaching the center to bark out an audible; the center snaps the ball into his chin. Fumble.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 3-14, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Similar setup to the last waggle bomb; this time an OSU DB takes a flagrant PI.|
|M45||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Hart||Zone left|
|Vijay's infamous screenshot play.|
|And, of course, when Henne actually finds an open receiver downfield and hits him the guy drops it. (CA+, 2, protection 2/2)|
|An attempted dumpoff, as Henne has sat and surveyed but now things being to collapse. Well behind Arrington, not going for the first anyway. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: AAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAARHG|
|Eight minutes left in the game, two score deficit, we still have a fullback around. We run play action; Henne drops to throw deep; Gholston owns Schilling(-2) and clubs Henne to the ground. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Accurate; OSU playing off. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Gholston crushes Schilling(-3), knocking him over, and pressures Henne. Henne nearly throws an interception as a result. (BR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|Drive Notes: AAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH AAAAAAAAAAARHG. With 6 minutes left in a two-score game and Michigan punting, this charting bullshit is over.|
Let's get this over with.
Despite missing a drive, Henne set a new UFR record for INs; collectively Michigan QBs piled up 14 between them. Applying our standard Metric of Suck -- remove screens, add CA + DO, put in a ratio with IN + BR + TA -- yields 12 good results and 14 poor ones, a 46% success rate. This sucks butt, but not quite as much as Mallett's Wisconsin game; Henne's 2005 Wisconsin game remains his low point.
Of course, there's one obvious reason this happened: Henne's separated shoulder. He was obviously broken and it's hard to blame him for that performance.
That guy has got to be on roids.
Protection: 40/55. Schilling -12, Long -3.
Awful, and every minus received was because of Gholston.
Ye observe balls flying ten yards over your head!
Basically irrelevant, though the two opportunities Michigan receivers had to make big catches were dropped.
What does it mean for Florida?
If Henne is not healthy we have no chance. If he playing at his apex we have a shot. Our running game is uncreative and full of fail and, like everything Mike Debord does, makes babies cry. We should use our killer wideouts and attack the Florida secondary, the Gators' weak point, but we might have to do so with the burned out husk of Henne or Mallett's suck festival.
So, right, the game was on my hard drive... the external one that I left in Ann Arbor. I have re-downloaded and will get crackin', but bump back everything a day if you please.
Merry Christmas. I'm out until after the holiday. Enjoy the following gifts:
- MVictors is putting together various "Michigan Memorabilia Vaults".
See you after Christmas.
Update: Not so fast! Via Varsity Blue: Fred Jackson has been re-hired (woo McGuffie!) and was told that two more assistants may be retained. Steve Stripling was put forth in Chengelis' article yesterday; Campbell and Loeffler would seem to be the other candidates to stay.
WVU safeties coach Bruce Tall recruited [OH WR DJ] Woods, but a team source said Sunday Rodriguez wanted Tall on his staff at Michigan.
"Michigan is a very serious option now," Woods said. "I committed to West Virginia because of the coaching staff, but I started thinking about Michigan when Coach Rod called me and told me he was taking everyone with him."
And one on Mike Barwis, the S&C guy we're also giddy about:
"I think it would be huge for Michigan," said Beilein, whose father, John, coached WVU's men's basketball team for five seasons before moving to Michigan in April.
"I didn't get to see football too much when I was there and I didn't interact with them as much as I did with Barwis, but I know he'd be a great addition if it happens for every sport and not just football. He gets involved and gets his guys working around the clock."
12/22 - 12/26: Nonstop 'Sheed Jingle Bells on repeat:
12/27 & 12/28: Ohio State UFR. Merry Christmas.
12/29: (Ideally) Orson-style VEQ.
12/30: Citrus Preview.
May be some wiggle in here, but the four things above I promise by the New Year.