Formation notes: Michigan had a gameplan and stuck with it, running the stack all day. In certain formations—mostly I—Michigan shaded the linebackers to the strong side and brought a guy up behind, which looked like a 3-4 except your OLB is Ray Vinopal instead of Lamarr Woodley; I called that a 3-4.
An example stack:
Or something, anyway. Michigan lined up Kovacs or Avery to the strong side and had Cam Gordon over the WRs, which is another way in which this isn't much like a stack. If Kovacs is the bandit he should be to the weak side of the formation, AFAIK.
I came out in this formation for most of the second half:
Substitution notes: Michigan platooned the entire line, sending RVB, Martin, and Roh out there as the first team and Banks, Martin, and Black as the second. When Roh went out in the second half Heininger took his snaps. Demens and Mouton went the whole way; Fitzgerald got some run behind Ezeh but not much. Gordon played most of the way at spur but Johnson got approximately three drives. Avery, Rogers, Kovacs, and Vinopal played the whole way except for a couple plays where Talbott replaced Rogers after a hand injury.
On with show:
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O8||1||10||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Pass||4||PA TE corner||Ezeh||16|
|Bizarre that Michigan will spend a good chunk of the game backing Cam Gordon out onto the slot receiver and let Ray Vinopal play run D. That's what they do here, with a 3-4-ish formation and Kovacs overhanging to the short side. Tolzien has all day (pressure -2) and finds his TE settling in the space between Ezeh(-1, cover -1) and Kovacs. Ezeh sucked up on the PA fake and was a yard or two away from batting the ball down. Kovacs escorts OOB immediately.|
|O24||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Ezeh||14|
|TEs block down on playside DE and SLB. Ezeh(-1) sealed. RVB(-1) sealed. Two blockers on Kovacs and Mouton; Mouton(+1) slams into the pulling G and forces the play back inside, where there's no one since Demens(-2) got slashed to the ground instead of flowing hard down the LOS. Ezeh getting turned and shoved so badly opens the play up. Kovacs(-1) was pancaked easily by the pulling C to the outside. Ball squeezes through the hole and has no one until Avery(+0.5) comes up to make a solid tackle(+1) past the sticks.|
|O38||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Roh||1|
|End around fake to the run up the middle designed to attack that backside gap where people are freaking out about the end around. Roh(+2) slants underneath the TE and is into the intended running lane. Demens(+0.5) slid past a blocker by hitting a frontside gap hard, but it doesn't really matter since Roh's tackling from behind.|
|O39||2||9||I-form 3-wide||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||PA Post||?||26|
|All day (pressure -1) and Tolzien sits back, firing into a gap in the zone about equidistant from literally five Michigan zone defenders. (Cover -2) Caught, first down, etc.|
|M35||1||10||Ace twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Mouton||0|
|Mouton lined up at MLB on this play four yards off the LOS, with Demens to the strongside and Obi weak. Badgers run the same down G play, blocking down on the playside end and LB, in this case Vinopal. Cam Gordon is lined up tight to the playside as well, so he takes on one blocker to the outside. Demens(+0.5) flows down the line to get outside the second blocker, allowing Mouton(+1) to come from the inside and tackle. Mouton was free because of his alignment--here two yards deeper and a yard or so playside compared to the first one--and the inability of the C to release immediately because of traffic in the middle; Black(+0.5) slanted in and impeded his progress. Intentional? Don't know. Results based charting.|
|M35||2||10||Ace twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Martin||1|
|Looks like a designed cutback aimed at the backside; Vinopal rolls up to be the bandit as Michigan shifts strongside, making Ezeh the spur-type-object. Martin(+3) shoves the center back and reads the vertical path of the RB as he approaches the handoff point, cutting back behind the center, swallowing the play by himself.|
|M34||3||9||Shotgun trips||Okie stack||Pass||Sack||Kovacs||-11|
|Stack personnel; DL aligned as if it's a 4-3 with Demens lined up as an NT. Shafer used to do this on passing downs. (And third and one!) Zone blitz. Martin and Demens come, then back out; Mouton, Kovacs, and Ezeh come. It works as Kovacs(+2) gets a free run up the middle and sacks Tolzien to end the drive (RPS +2, pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 11 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Roh||7|
|Same play Martin swallowed last time. This time Roh(-1) gets washed too far down the LOS and allows a cutback behind him. Fitzgerald(-0.5) is in and the backside LB; he can't get off a block. This allows a big backside lane that Gordon(-0.5) can't cut down because he went with the end-around.|
|O32||2||3||I-form twins||3-3-5 stack||Run||Iso||Van Bergen||9|
|Huge cutback lane as RVB(-1) is crushed out of the play on the backside. Demens is again lined up a yard behind his center and has no choice but to take a step playside and get blown up by a guard so when Mouton funnels the play back to him he's busy getting hit by a guy with his arms wrapped behind his back and can't get back. This is *exactly* why the 3-3-5 has MLBs way off the LOS. Here Martin had gotten playside of the C, cutting off the A gap and if allowed to flow Demens could have hit it backside easily. Here he's got a guard in his face after one step. RPS –1. Picture paged.|
|O41||1||10||I-form||3-3-5 stack||Pass||PA scramble||?||7|
|Back to the Mouton MLB at reasonable depth thing. Tolzien looks, can't find anyone (cover +1) and then Martin(-1) and Roh(-1) get some vague pressure that forces him to step up. He's got a big lane (pressure -1) and takes it for good yardage. Coverage due to linebackers being three or four yards further off the LOS and able to get deeper?|
|O48||2||3||Ace twins||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Patterson||2|
|Slower developing. Downblock on RVB sees him shoot upfield and vacate a bunch of space as his blocker goes with him. Mouton(+1) comes up to hit the pulling G at the LOS and forces it back inside, where Patterson(+1) has time to get cut, get back up, and tackle as the cut is awkward thanks to Mouton. I'm not sure if RVB's play is good or bad; it did get rid of the trash and allow Patterson to flow but it doesn't seem very sound.|
|50||3||1||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Iso||Gordon||4|
|RVB(+0.5), Martin(+0.5, and Roh(+0.5) and control single blocks and stand up at the LOS ready to tackle in their gaps. Gordon(-2) gets locked outside really easily by a backside TE when he needs to be in the gap behind Roh, Roh gets shoved past the play just barely, and there's a cutback lane for the first down.|
|M46||1||10||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Run||Iso||Martin||1|
|Black(+0.5) and Martin(+0.5) slide together and block any possible release for a guard trying to get out on the linebackers. This opens up a backside hole that the RB does not take ; Kovacs may have filled it. Vinopal blitzes and peels the lead blocker, allowing Demens(+0.5) to tackle unmolested.|
|M45||2||9||I-form twins||3-3-5 stack||Pass||PA deep cross||Fitzgerald||21|
|Ton of time (pressure -2) this time the WR is wide open (cover -3). On replay it's clear Fitzgerald(-2) blew his drop.|
|M24||1||10||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Kovacs||4|
|Michigan should have this dead as Kovacs is in overhang mode. Fitzgerald takes out a lead blocker and Mouton(+1) thumps the pulling G at the LOS, removing any lanes inside and funneling the back right to Kovacs. The Mouton blast has made the hole so small that the back has to slow up as he cuts. Kovacs(-1, tackling -1) tries to take down a guy 50 pounds heavier than him up high instead of taking out his legs and gives up a full 4 YAC.|
|M20||2||6||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Fitzgerald?||19|
|Fitzgerald(-2) is doing something strange. He steps back and away in an attempt to get outside the downblock. This really does not work; he gets blown off the ball. Mouton(-1) avoids a cut but took an angle too shallow and allows the back outside of him. Fitzgerald is gone; Demens got crushed because the C released free on him instead of dealing with the NT, Patterson. Patterson(-1) has avoided a cut but was slowed by it and then takes a bad pursuit angle that's too aggressive and sees Ball run by him; Demens(-1) also gets a ding for getting so comprehensively owned; he should probably slow up at some point so that this cutback isn't so smooth.|
|M1||1||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Power off tackle||Anderson||1|
|Michigan actually does a good job defending this play with Quinton Washington(!) getting under the pads of the C and driving him back into the path of a pulling guard. Delays him and allows Tony Anderson(-1, tackling -1) to plug Ball behind the LOS, but this is a walk-on cornerback we're talking about and Ball just goes "I am made of ham" and falls into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 3 min 1st Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||Black||5|
|They're doing that thing where Mouton is five yards off the LOS as the WLB and the other LBs are super close to the LOS. And the second team DL is in. Black(-1) is destroyed by a single block, giving the TE a really easy angle to block Demens since Demens is close to the LOS and can't avoid the traffic. Ezeh takes on the pulling G and forces the play inside, where Demens shucks his blocker and tackles. Freshman DE against Gabe Carimi. That's life, I guess.|
|O25||2||5||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Patterson||10|
|Patterson(-2) blown down the line and off the ball by the C. The center gets a tiny bit of guard help but it's more like 'can you get this guy' and since the answer is yes the Gs get free releases. Demens is trying to cut behind Patterson, now mashed three yards downfield, when he gets plowed by a guard. He does what he can, which isn't anything. Ball cuts between the two guys. Vinopal comes up and can't tackle but with people getting blown downfield he's got a tough job. He causes the TB to stumble and Rogers finishes the play. RPS -1; this is a play with one WR and a three-deep umbrella.|
|O35||1||10||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||Mouton||3|
|Banks(-1) crushed back by a double and puts the LBs in a tough spot. Obi(+0.5) is scraping over the top and does a pretty good job of constricting space. Mouton(+1) attacks the Black block, hitting the outside guy before he can release into the second level and driving him back, messing up the other pulling guard's flight path. This allows Demens(+0.5) to scrape through the line without getting clubbed and tackle near the LOS.|
|O38||2||7||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Martin||-3|
|A stunt by Michigan frees Martin. RVB(+1) crashes inside, taking his blocker and smashing into the C who's supposed to deal with Martin. This allows Martin(+1) to run down the line, and since Avery(+1!) was the functional spur on this play and bashed the TE he's in a great spot to force an uncomfortable bounce that Martin swallows. (RPS+2)|
|Four man line with Carvin Johnson hanging out as a linebacker in a middle zone. Black(+0.5) gets enough of a rush to push Tolzien up in the pocket and force a checkdown to the RB (cover +1). Mouton(-1) overruns it and while he can recover to tackle he can't do so before Wisconsin converts.|
|Vinopal rolls up as an OLB. Why? I don't know. He rushes as others drop off on play action; Tolzien has all day (pressure -3) and can comfortably zing in a wheel route to Kendricks that Obi(-1, cover -1) can't keep up on. Not really his fault, he's just too slow. (RPS -1)|
|O21||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Pass||N/A||Bubble screen||Rogers||1|
|Kind of an odd playcall as Michigan has Gordon lined up right over the slot. Rogers(+1) attacks the corner trying to block him and ends up running him over. He's prone at the LOS, where he forces Toon to jump over him. Gordon falls over the mess but Toon's elbow hits and he doesn't get a killer gain. Still dodgy.|
|O20||2||9||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Pass||N/A||Waggle TE flat||Ezeh||13|
|Rollout to the two TE side with one guy releasing right downfield into a pass pattern and the other blocking down on RVB to force him inside before releasing into the flat. Ezeh(-1, cover -1) rides the instant release guy downfield and then cannot get out on the edge to cover the flat guy--he can't even get over to tackle on a five yard catch. TE turns it up and it's first and goal.|
|O7||1||G||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Banks||2|
|Banks(+1) takes a double and holds at the LOS. He threatens to slant inside and takes both blockers with him. Mouton(+0.5) runs up to the LOS to take on the lead guy and with Martin(+0.5) taking two himself Kovacs and Demens are unblocked and can tackle.|
|O5||2||G||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Mouton||5 (Pen -15)|
|Mouton(-1) attacks a lead blocker well until he reaches the contact point, where he fails to get outside. All he has to do is turn it up and Demens and or pursuit will take the play out since Demens(+0.5) read and reacted too fast for the releasing G and turned him into a spectator. Touchdown comes back on an irrelevant chop block.|
|O20||2||G||Shotgun trips||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||Dumpoff||?||7|
|Coverage(+1) is good deep and Tolzien checks down for a decent chunk. In the situation I think this is fine.|
|A give-up-and kick since this is a three yard hitch. Guess he didn't like his other options(cover +1). Rogers(+1, tackling +1) is there to shut it down immediately.|
|Drive Notes: FG(25), 0-10, 8 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Pass||4||PA post||Avery?||30|
|Tolzien gets lit up by Martin(+1, pressure +1) as he throws but gets the ball off on a deep post that's behind Mouton and Demens and in front of Avery. No idea who's responsible this time, but lean towards Mouton or Avery since Demens was well inside of where the ball went. (Cover -3)|
|M45||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Pass||3||Hitch||Mouton?||10|
|Plenty of time (pressure -2) and Tolzien zings one in to Kendricks at the sticks. Mouton with an immediate tackle.|
|M35||1||10||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Run||Iso||Van Bergen||8|
|Another massive cutback lane as RVB(-1) is easily kicked out and removed from the play. He ends up pancaked outside the hash. The linebackers flow to the frontside, which just gets Mouton erased by a guard; Kovacs(-1) is in overhang mode and is late to react; Fitzgerald comes from behind to ankle tackle.|
|M27||2||2||I-form||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Martin||0|
|Attempted single block of Martin(+1) ends up with the C getting stood up two yards in the backfield. Roh(+1) slanted under a kickout block at first, then that guy gets his position back. He's given up too much ground, though: Roh spins off him and the two DL meet the RB in the backfield.|
|M27||3||2||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Vinopal||27|
|Vinopal(-1) is an eighth guy in the box and doesn't react appropriately when he sees the down block. He should shuffle down the LOS and cut the pulling guard to create a pile and bounce the play. Instead he runs into the FB and physics owns him. Carvin Johnson is at spur; he runs unabated from the outside and gets a diving arm tackle attempt on Ball; Ball runs through it. Demens(-1) and Mouton(-0.5) got eaten by blocks and couldn't help despite the slowdown; Demens was closer to the play and didn't read it fast enough to get in the hole; he also loses it to the outside. Two UW guys are now running downfield to pick up Avery, the FS; he gets run out of the play. Rogers(-1, tackling -1) is unblocked and can stop this after about ten; he whiffs.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-17, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O16||1||10||I-form||3-3-5 stack||Pass||4||PA Dumpoff||Mouton||9|
|Vinopal sent as the fourth rusher as he was lined up as an OLB. He actually does a decent job to get around the RB and with a little help from Martin pressures Tolzien into a throw. It's a dumpoff to the tailback, but Mouton(-1, cover -1) is so far off the TB can turn upfield and get five YAC. Frustrating when the dumpoffs are almost first downs.|
|O25||2||1||Ace twins||Base 3-4||Pass||4||PA quick out||Gordon||14|
|Coverage(+1) good deep and Tolzein has to check down after again being given all kinds of time (pressure -2). This will get the first and a few more until Cam Gordon(-2, tackling -2) gets depressingly run over by Kendricks and gives up ten extra yards.|
|O39||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Mouton||61|
|We get like no good camera angles. Mouton(-2) again gets inside a blocker and lets his guy outside. Demens(-2) was thunderously chopped by the center; RVB(-1) and Fitzgerald(-1) were easily sealed by down blocks. Alignment of the LBs was such that this was easy, I think. You're shifted away from the strength of the formation here so if they can downblock our guys on the line you're screwed. RPS -2.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-24, 2 min 2nd Q. Gallon fumbles the ensuing kickoff.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M27||1||10||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||Banks||5|
|Banks(-1) crushed and pancaked by a double. Mouton(+1) gets upfield into the pulling G quickly, hitting him at the LOS and getting outside. This picks off both lead blockers. Demens had no chance to scrape because of the Banks pancake, leaving Avery(-0.5, tackling -1), the overhang guy, alone in space; his ankle tackle is run through and Wisconsin grabs five.|
|M22||2||5||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Mouton||3|
|Patterson(-1) blown off the line, allowing UW to crush Demens, again lined up about a yard off his NT. Mouton(+2) evades his blocker and scrapes past the Patterson mess to meet the RB in the hole, standing him up with help from Demens.|
|M19||3||2||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Pass||PA corner||Roger||Int|
|Good coverage(+2) all around, with Gordon maybe intentionally bashing a TE heading for the flat so Kovacs can get out on him. Tolzien makes a terrible decision to throw to a bracketed WR on a corner route that Rogers(+2) attacks to intercept.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-24, EOH|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||Ace||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Mouton||4|
|Michigan late getting aligned and this shot is way removed so it's hard to tell exactly what's going on but this is an adjustment, with Carvin Johnson farther outside. This prevents him from getting down-blocked. The TE can't do much with him and the pulling guards end up neutralized at the LOS. RB has to cut inside. Black shot directly upfield and gave up a big hole but I think that's on purpose since if he gets downblocked he's useless and he might as well terrorize the QB on play action. Michigan will do this most of the half. Mouton(+1) evades a releasing OL, coming upfield of him and flowing down the line to tackle. Pile falls forward.|
|O31||2||6||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Pass||Rollout scramble||Johnson||2|
|Seems like a UW bust as they have two WRs within a couple yards of each other and Johnson covering(+1) both. Vinopal charges in and gets uselessly chopped; Demens(+0.5) is out on the edge and shoves Tolzien OOB as he nears the LOS.|
|O33||3||4||Shotgun trips bunch||3-3-5 stack||Pass||Cross||Demens||6|
|Zone coverage looks coherent on this play as Mouton gets drawn deep by a vertical release from the single receiver. Avery has a wheel coming out of the backfield. Both are covered, so Tolzien's third option is a drag that Demens correctly diagnoses is his and follows, but follows a step too late. Receiver catches and turns it up for the first down; Demens(+1) and Avery(+1) combine to jar the ball free as he does so. Mouton jumps on it.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-24, 9 min 3rd Q. IT'S PEANUT BEAVER JELLY TIME|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|O31||1||10||I-form big||Base 3-4||Pass||Scramble||Mouton||5|
|Good coverage(+2) forces Tolzien to scramble as he rolls to the sideline, but Mouton(-1) doesn't realize he needs to attack and gives up six yards that could be two.|
|O36||2||5||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Mouton||5|
|Line and LBs not on same page, as the line slants its way to the left, which is good. There's nothing on the frontside and Martin(+0.5) got a quick attack that got a releasing G off balance so Mouton(-1) is totally unblocked as the RB cuts it back; Demens absorbs the FB heading backside. Mouton hesitates and only gets a weak ankle tackle. I guess you could get on Black for getting pushed down the line too far but here there's one place for the RB to go, no one blocking the LB filling, and they still get five yards.|
|O41||1||10||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||Avery||4|
|Van Bergen(+0.5) takes a momentary double and holds; Demens again close to the LOS and threatens to shoot into the backfield so the interior guy has to peel off quickly. Kovacs(+0.5) sets up well outside. Mouton(+0.5) takes on a pulling G at the LOS and the RB almost trips as there's not much room at all; Avery(-0.5) misses a tackle(-1) and Wisconsin gets a decent gain.|
|O45||2||6||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Run||Delay||Mouton||14|
|Martin(+0.5) again absorbs a double long enough to delay the release of the C, so no one is on Mouton. Heininger is slanting inside and gets sealed away, so the play is going outside. Vinopal avoids a cut block but runs upfield; Demens(+0.5) gets outside his blocker and forces the play back into Mouton(-2), who completely whiffs the tackle(-2) and turns like three yards into a big gain.|
|M41||1||10||I-form twins||3-3-5 stack||Run||Iso||Banks||2|
|So this is how I think the earlier iso wants to be defended. Line slants playside hard, with Banks(+1) getting under the TE. Tackle released downfield but on the previous play the DE was just sitting outside, not driving down. Patterson(+0.5) gets a good push and stays at the line; Demens plugs a guard in the hole thanks to his position. No holes; Black(+1) swam past the tackle and the two DEs swallow the RB at the LOS.|
|M39||2||8||Ace twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Johnson||12|
|Again Johnson is outside the TE and he has to go downfield to find someone to block, but this time Johnson(-2) kind of hangs out casually on the edge, waiting for the pulling OL to get there. Given the sizes involved he needs to run up and cut the lead guy to the ground, making an ugly pile. Instead he stands up, gets inside the lead guy, and ends up sealed off five yards downfield. Demens charged up between the two guards and got cut by the second but because of the Johnson error it didn't really matter what he did; that could have actually been good. Ezeh's getting out on the edge; he gets pushed past the play via no fault of his own. A note: Black had not accepted the down block this time and was fighting to the ball. Mouton(-0.5) also sucked up oddly, though he recovers to tackle; could have been short of the sticks maybe otherwise.|
|M27||1||10||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Power off tackle||Mouton||4|
|Well defensed, with Mouton(+1) and Ezeh(+1) attacking and getting to blockers at the LOS; no creases. RVB(-1) had been doubled and tried to fight through it but just ended up getting blown off the line, so momentum allows Wisconsin to lurch forward for a decent gain.|
|M23||2||6||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Heininger||23|
|This is odd and I think Mouton does something fairly right that ends up being terrible. UW blocks down on the one guy they can, RVB, who does the thing where he tries to shoot upfield for play action. Two blockers release downfield to get Demens and Mouton; M is playside of both. Mouton suddenly takes a vertical flight path past one and shoots upfield, where the second pulling guard stops to wall him off. This leaves Demens dealing with two guys; the guy who's supposed to get Kovacs, the overhang guy, has now been removed by Mouton. RB has to cut back as Kovacs attacks, leaving the backside pursuit to run the play down. This is Will Heininger(-2), getting his first action of the year. Heininger is rusty, coming off an injury, and a walk-on. His angle is too close to the LOS and he doesn't have the athleticism to make up for it, diving at the RB's legs and getting his tackle(-1) run through, at which point White is off to the races. Vinopal(-1) is late getting to the POA at the sticks; Heininger did slow him down but no one could get there.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 14-31, 5 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M45||1||10||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Mouton||1|
|Somewhat similar but Michigan's LBs are not running down the line as far; Mouton is inside this time and again goes upfield of his blocker as Demens heads out. Mouton(+2) swims past the pulling G and tackles for a minimal gain by himself.|
|M44||2||9||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Run||Iso||?||18|
|Banks slants inside the G, which I assume is what he's supposed to do. Play ends up going directly outside of him. Vinopal(-1) is blitzing from the outside and just runs way upfield out of the play uselessly, opening up a huge hole. Demens is getting blocked by the tackle and Mouton hangs back because another massive cutback lane has opened with Van Bergen again getting sealed out of the play. Martin can't quite get to the RB to close off the hole. With Mouton seriously delayed Demens(-1) and Martin(-1) get split for a big gain. RPS –1.|
|M26||1||10||I-form twins||Base 3-4||Run||Iso||Mouton||1|
|Good God. RVB shoots upfield immediately outside of the tackle. With Martin slanting playside and Demens headed there too this opens up a cavern for the tailback. Fullback does well to read the jammed up frontside and cut back; Mouton(+3) sets him up inside, gives the back the impression he should cut it out, dodges the FB block, and tackles for a one yard gain. All in a days work. RPS -1.|
|M25||2||9||I-form big||Base 3-4||Run||Inside zone||Martin||3|
|Van Bergen is left unblocked and flies upfield as linebackers fill behind him. I'm not sure what he's doing in this game but either he's confused or someone else is because it doesn't make sense. He's upfield, preventing a cutback. Ezeh gets blocked by a guard; Demens is free behind him but has to cut one way or the other; tough. Fortunately, Martin(+1) shoves the center back and the RB trips.|
|M22||3||6||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Avery||15|
|This actually looks like a WVU stack with the MLB six yards deep. This is irrelevant to the play. Mouton(+1) gets playside of a releasing TE and avoids a cut. He's there to absorb a block, so Avery(-2) just has to keep contain and Kovacs can clean up for a FG attempt. He gets obliterated and gives up the corner. Kovacs(-1) has a shot but whiffs a shoulder tackle(-1), and blah blah blah.|
|M7||1||G||Ace twins twin TE||Base 3-4||Run||Down G||Mouton||4|
|Same thing. Mouton(+1) gets playside of the TE again and forces an awkward bounce; Kovacs(-1) stops dead for some reason and gives up the corner.|
|M3||2||G||Goal line||Goal line||Run||Power off tackle||Kovacs||3|
|Bounced out to Kovacs(-1) and if he was attacking could be a no gain; instead he is slow to react and it is three yards.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 21-38, 14 min 4th Q|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Rush||Play||Player||Yards|
|M40||1||10||Ace big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Heininger||8|
|Demens aligned behind Patterson as this line is unbalanced, two yards off the LOS. Patterson(+1) does a good job to get playside of his blocker, forcing a cutback. Demens gets blown up by the guard; Heininger(-1) got scooped on the backside; Ezeh(-1) also is walled off and well out of the play. Cutback lane, yards, etc.|
|M32||2||2||Ace big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Inside zone||Mouton||2|
|Patterson(+0.5) stands up his blocker and pushes outside, which cuts off the space between himself and Patterson. Running lane is now further inside and it's filled by Mouton(+1), who darted past the OL assigned to him and doesn't get burned because of the Patterson play. Ball still gets the two he needs.|
|M30||1||10||I-form big||3-3-5 stack||Run||Power off tackle||Banks||1|
|Banks(+0.5) takes a double and gets pushed down the line but slowly and doesn't get blown off the ball. Hole is pretty small. Kovacs takes the outside. Mouton(+0.5) turns it inside at the LOS. Ezeh(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5) scrape to the ball, with Ezeh getting a break when UW's OL stumbles as he tries to get out on him. He takes on the last lead blocker and Demens tackles.|
|M29||2||9||I-form twins||3-3-5 stack||Run||Iso||Kovacs||3|
|Same story here: DT and Demens both hit the playside A gap hard; Mouton flows, too, leaving a huge cutback lane. Kovacs(+1) fills relatively quickly.|
|M26||3||6||Ace twins twin TE||3-3-5 stack||Run||Down G||Van Bergen||2|
|RVB(+1) refuses the down block, getting outside his TE and driving into the second of the pulling linemen. A cutback forced, RB is run down by Heininger from behind and Mouton(+0.5) and Demens(+0.5), who beat blocks.|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 21-41, 9 min 4th Q. Wisconsin gets the ball back after an onside kick and goes down and scores but with the ball, six minutes, and a thirteen point lead it's academic. Not charted.|
Why did you do this?
I have responsibilities to people!
Seriously, there is something wrong with you.
I stopped before the last touchdown drive, at least. That was theoretically important still.
No it wasn't since everyone on the planet knew they would run and score.
Chart, you'll see this in numbers:
|Van Bergen||3||6||-3||Did not make many plays; seemed to give up big cutback lanes easily. Maybe an RPS thing.|
|Martin||8.5||2||6.5||One old-style I destroy this play plus a few more scattered good bits and some half points.|
|Black||2.5||1||1.5||Less of an issue, I guess.|
|Roh||3.5||2||1.5||Basically one nice play and then not much.|
|TOTAL||24.5||21||3.5||This is very very bad, especially because the pressure metric is –10 on 15 throws. The DL did virtually nothing.|
|Ezeh||2||5||-3||A couple minuses in coverage. Wasn't a huge problem on the ground.|
|Mouton||19||11||8||Made a lot of very tough plays. Blew some others but I thought he had an excellent day amongst a sea of bleah.|
|C. Gordon||-||4.5||-4.5||Not involved much and didn't do well when he was.|
|Johnson||-||2||-2||Error on a down G was painful.|
|Demens||6.5||6||0.5||Variety of half points, a couple of instances where he got cut like whoah.|
|Fitzgerald||-||5.5||-5.5||Reason he's behind Ezeh.|
|TOTAL||27.5||33.5||-6||Nevermind about the linebackers when they don't have to defend passes.|
|Kovacs||3.5||6||-2.5||Did not tackle well.|
|Talbott||-||-||-||Not involved on his few plays.|
|Avery||2.5||3||-0.5||Maybe should have been harsher on him in overhang mode.|
|Ray Vinopal||-||3||-3||Questionable deployment.|
|TOTAL||9||13||-4||Also not so good.|
|Coverage||10||12||-2||Scrambles made even the good coverage bad plays.|
[RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]
Note that the "Pressure" metric was developed to get a sense for how the defensive line is doing at getting to the QB and most of the responsibility for making it not –10 in 15 throws is on the DL, so that vaguely positive number above should be taken in context. Also the system has traditionally slanted towards the DL and coming out even as a DE is not a good day.
So that's comprehensive.
Yes, it is. What is there to say?
Isn't it my job to ask questions?
What would you like to know?
Is this a reference to "questions" from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
Are you suggesting that I am emphasizing the foolish pointlessness of this exercise?
Why, God, why?
You win. Seriously, folks, I'd like to have something new and interesting to say about the defense at this juncture but I don't. I don't really understand what the defense is supposed to be doing, the players can't execute in any case, and the whole thing is such a shambles it's hard to figure out who did something bad on most plays. Like… I can tell what goes wrong here:
Demens doesn't react fast enough to the crossing route to tackle it. Okay, fine, that's tough and it happens to defenses all the time. Good conversion, six yards, okay. Fumble tacked on the end is a bonus for the D but fundamentally they got beat and I know why.
Okay, Will Heininger misses a tackle and takes a bad angle, but even if he tackles it's like five to eight yards. Mouton's all jetting up into the play and Kovacs is slow and I could say that but I saw Wisconsin succeed on this play in five different ways. I'm not really sure what they're trying to do or why it's not working.
Mouton was doing valiant work most of the day. Martin had the best day other than him.
What does it mean for Ohio State?
Super fun times.
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.
Justice Hayes Goes Blue
In something of a shocker MI RB Justice Hayes, who recently decommitted from Notre Dame, picked the Wolverines Monday night. Check out the commitment post for more on him.
VolNation broke down his game back in May, and some of the slot-relevant portions follow:
For the spread offense, however, Hayes is the ideal fit. He is a young man who can attack with authority the lanes that are created in a spread offense, can attack creases, get to the perimeter, catch the football, and make big plays with the ball in his hands...
Often times, players with Hayes’ agility and quickness spend too much time juking and not enough time actually gaining yards. This is not a problem for Hayes who is very decisive in his movements...
Hayes has wide receiver skills in many regards. He has very smooth hands and catches the ball with authority. Hayes does a fine job catching the football away from his body and quickly plucking the ball out of the air smoothly... His speed and agility would create serious mismatches for linebackers and safeties even at the next level.
They have much more on him, so be sure to click through. The Flint Journal covers Hayes's commitment, and Hayes says he's a Wolverine as long as Fred Jackson is on Michigan's staff. [ed: so... forever.]
Now, since some Michigan State supporters seem to insist on trumpeting their in-state recruiting dominance over the Wolverines:
|Top Michigan Recruits|
On top of that, a couple more in-state prospects (Anthony Zettel and Thomas Rawls) openly favor Michigan... consider the myth busted.
FL LB Ryan Petro has burst onto the Michigan recruitnik scene, and his Michigan visit for the Wisconsin game exceeded his expectations ($, info in header). He tells the Orlando Sentinel he'll be back in a couple weeks:
Petro might be even more impressed with his next trip to the "Big House," Dec. 10th weekend, when he'll be on hand during his first official visit for the highly publicized Michigan State-Michigan hockey game that is being touted as the "Big Chill at the Big House."
Don't be surprised if he's offered at that time.
NC WR/LB Kris Frost told Tom that he enjoyed the visit, and he'll take trips to LSU and Cal before coming to a decision, which he'll announce at the Army All-American Game. He plans to enroll early at the school he chooses.
Tom has smaller reactions from Frost and Petro.
The Orlando Sentinel discusses the wavering commitment of FL QB Kevin Sousa:
Lake Nona quarterback Kevin Sousa is still committed to Michigan. As his assistant coach Anthony Paradiso says, "Michigan will be hard for anyone to beat," in the recruiting game. But there are still some things Sousa wants to sort out.
At Michigan, he knows there are several quarterbacks ahead of him on the roster and he might labor in the wings for a few years before seeing the playing field. Somewhere else, however, Sousa might be able to step in and compete for the starting job right away.
Paradiso alternates between saying things like "we're committed to Michigan" and "once we finally choose a school..." so the commitment is soft. NC QB Marquise Williams is doing the same song-and-dance with North Carolina, and impending NCAA doom may be the only thing that shakes him from his commitment there.
OH CB Greg Brown took an official visit to Syracuse and was downgraded to a soft commit by the recruiting services, but he's still firm to Michigan ($, info in header). In fact, he plans to enroll early, along with Dee Hart.
FL WR Sammy Watkins was officially invited to the US Army All American game last week, but uh, he also committed to Clemson. Will Michigan commit Dallas Crawford try to sway his teammate in the months before Signing Day? Only time will tell.
TX LB Anthony Wallace committed to Oregon. He hadn't been strongly considering Michigan, but was still on the Recruiting Board.
NC TE Drew Owens has narrowed his list to NC State and South Carolina.
A couple Michigan prospects, including FL RB Commit Demetrius Hart, are semi-finalists for the Army All-American Player of the Year. FL S Ha-Sean Clinton-Dix, GA DE Ray Drew, KY LB Lamar Dawson, and VA LB Curtis Grant are longshots for the Wolverines to land.
I'd hesitated to mention a hazing incident at Dr. Phillips High school earlier this year, since there were no mentions of Michigan targets, but unfortunately, that is no longer the case. FL WR Chris Gallon is among the accused, and criminal charges may be on the way.
Michigan has offered CA WR Devin Lucien, a new name on the radar for Wolverine recruiting fans. Highlights:
He plans to visit, so expect more on Lucien in future updates.
IL OL Chris Bryant is seeing his recruitment "wind down." He'll make a decision after visits to Arizona and Michigan (the 3rd and 10th), as well as Illinois and maybe Memphis. He tells the Chicago Tribune he'll probably only visit the first three.
GA DE Ray Drew is still considering a Michigan visit, though Notre Dame or UCLA might receive his final official instead.
TomVH talks about defensive recruits still in play for Michigan.
OH DE Chris Wormley is the Defensive Player of the Year in his district.
PA LB Deaysean Rippy has received a Michigan offer.
Cass Tech CB Terry Richardson is the focus of this week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News.:
"Nick Saban called me into his office and offered me. He gave me the rundown and everything — told me he's going to offer me and they like me. Afterwards, my coach called Les Miles and told him the deal with Alabama. (Miles) said, 'The next time you bring him, I want to offer him in my office.' He said everything was taken care of and I'd have an offer..."
Michigan and Michigan State have shown interest, but neither has extended a verbal offer. That has done nothing to lessen his interest in either program.
"Those are my in-state schools," he said. "You've always got to show that mad love for those two schools. Those are schools that you grew up watching. There is always some type of love there..."
Another factor, albeit a minor one, could be the decisions of two of his good friends. Cass Tech linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone and Orchard Lake St. Mary's linebacker James "Biggs" Ross are highly regarded prospects in their own right.
There's much, much more in the article, so be sure to check it out.
Recruiting guru Duane Long runs down some of the top Ohio sleepers, including some potential Michigan targets.
Yesterday I put up an analysis of a simple iso that cut back behind Mike Martin and picked up ten yards. In the comments Magnus mentioned he thought this must be a mistake on someone's part because when you have the DT and MLB both heading to the playside A gap your defense is no longer "gap sound"—ie does not have one guy in every place a tailback can go—and things like ten yard iso plays result.
This resulted in some discussion about how the MLB's job in the 3-3-5 is to "make the nose right", IE fill the other A gap depending on what the nose does. This is a phrase unleashed to the world by Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 DVD, and I think it's what West Virginia does with its middle linebacker. It's evidently not what Michigan is doing with Demens when he's aligned in what I've come to think of as the Gergbacker position. Demens doesn't have time to make anyone right because he's too close to the play; he picks a side of the line and goes into the guard.
Another commenter complained that I shouldn't criticize Van Bergen for getting locked out upfield on this particular play because I can't be sure what his assignment is. That's true and a frustration I often have but amongst Wisconsin's brain-melting array of second half runs there is a serendipitous iso that Michigan stops that demonstrates the trends from yesterday's post and suggests that the key guy on a cutback is indeed the backside DE.
It's first and ten on the Michigan 41 in the midst of Wisconsin's first soul-crushing ground based touchdown drive of the second half. Wisconsin comes out in the same I-form they showed on the play featured yesterday. Michigan goes with basically the same stack look as well, though they've flipped Kovacs and Avery. The backup DL (Banks, Patterson, Black) is in:
A moment after the snap we see a difference: the backside tackle is releasing downfield instead of blocking Banks out of the play. That's left to the TE. He gets slanted under:
A moment later we see that Patterson is getting playside of the center… and Demens is shooting into the same gap to take on whoever shows up. Banks is sliding down the line behind them; also note that Jibreel Black has beaten the block of the RT and is coming upfield.
At the handoff point Patterson is beating his guy and Demens is about to slam into a guard at the LOS. In doing so he halts all progress from both the G bubbled over him and the FB. Massive cutback lane would result, except Banks is right on the center's hip. Black is now through the tackle totally and converging; tailback has nowhere to go:
Wad of bodies…
…and two yards.
So. To continue the Week of Defensiveness, usually these plays are picked because they illustrate a larger trend—Kenny Demens runs at the playside guard all day and eats facemask, and I'm pretty sure the design of this defense has a backside DE assigned to an A-gap. My choice here was between criticizing Van Bergen for getting locked out so easily or Greg Robinson for putting him in a tough position. The right answer is some of both, probably.
Object lesson type objects:
- This is a slight variation on the play yesterday. Yesterday Wisconsin kept the backside T in to block Van Bergen and ended up blocking Mouton with a guard. Here the guard attempts to slide over on Patterson and the T is assigned Mouton. These seem like subtly different playcalls with the first designed to cut back and the second to go straight upfield.
- Kenny Demens really does just run to the playside A gap all game, where he enjoys a scone with the DT. Here it works, though the next play is a 12 yard Down G run, the play after a four yard power play, and the play after that a 23-yard Down G touchdown.
- So that means your options on the cutback are backside DE or no one. Here Banks gets a relatively easy task since the guy lined up over him heads downfield and he can just slide along the line; Van Bergen had that guy blocking him. Still, the results were not so good and were repeated on a number of other runs.
- I'm pretty sure this is a bad idea. And not just on general principles! Having the backside DE clean up behind the NT seems like a thing that would work in the 4-3 where the backside DE is actually a DT inside of the tackle. In this scheme he releases downfield or he's got what seems like easy work to seal out a guy who's supposed to be an A-gap player.
- How about Jibreel Black beating a block and being useful on a run play? Woo progress!
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.
New Commit MI RB Justice Hayes
Game 1. Grand Blanc defeated Carman-Ainsworth 21-7. Hayes had a good game:
Hayes finished with 149 yards on 18 carries. He also threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Ryan Morley, who began the play by tossing a lateral to Hayes. Hayes attracted a pass rush, then threw to his left to Morley, who had plenty of room down the left sideline with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
"There were guys in my area, so I had to hurry up and get if off quick," Hayes said. "It was a very difficult throw for me."
...but also fumbled in the end zone, giving Carman-Ainsworth their only score.
Game 2. Grand Blanc was pasted by Canton, 20-62. Hayes had just 20 yards on 9 carries.
Game 3. Grand Blanc dropped an overtime decision to Milford, 35-42. Hayes did most of his damage as a receiver:
Justice Hayes caught 11 passes for 98 yards and one score
His junior teammate Detrick Goff got most of the rushing yardage.
Game 4. Hayes missed the game with a wrist injury as Grand Blanc beat Brighton 27-20. More on the wrist injury:
As for Hayes, Delaney doesn’t know when his star running back will be able to play again. “At first it was thought to be a bad sprain, but the swelling never went down,” Delaney said. “It looked as bad last week on Friday as it did on Saturday morning the previous week. He’s gone around to different places and gotten different opinions. It seems to be a problem in the wrist with a small bone. We’re trying to get it figured out.”
The injury turned out to be a broken wrist, and Justice missed the remainder of the season. Grand Blanc would finish 7-4, losing in the second round of the State Playoffs to Lake Orion.
FL RB Demetrius Hart
Running back Demetrius Hart rushed for 118 yards and accounted for three touchdowns — two rushing, one receiving — to lead the Panthers in a 52-3 rout.
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
|Oak Ridge||W 56-28||21||126||3||6.00||4||37||1||9.25||1||5||0||5.00|
|West Orange||W 49-6||11||121||4||11.00||4||24||0||6.00||2||69||1||34.50|
This week: Dr. Phillips hosts Oak Ridge in Round 2 of the State Playoffs next Friday.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant faces Newsome in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last Week: Pregame Fluff:
“Even though we're only 16, 17, 18-year-old kids,” Miller said, “we kind of know what this means in the big picture [of Toledo football history]. For us seniors, this is our last year and it's the last year of the City League [for St. John's, Whitmer and others]. On so many different levels, this game is very meaningful.”
Miller was also named 1st-Team All-District, and the District Lineman of the Year.
This week: 11-2 St. John's has ended their season with both losses coming at the hands of Whitmer.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Last week: Plymouth upset Rockford 20-17 in the State Semifinals. Beyer was the star of the show:
"Obviously, (Beyer) is an outstanding athlete," said Rockford coach Ralph Munger, whose team ended its season 11-2. "The quarterback made the throw and he made the catch with two guys in coverage. But you have to make plays and deny plays, and we didn't make enough big plays today." ...
"(Beyer) is a great kid, and he just keeps playing," Plymouth coach Mike Sawchuk said. "As a coach, obviously, you have doubt (when they score that touchdown with just over a minute to play), but these kids never quit.
Beyer made plays on both sides of the ball for Plymouth. He caught his team's first touchdown early in the first quarter and, on defense, he caused problems for the Rockford offense all game from the defensive end position... Beyer had five catches for 105 yards.
PlymouthCantonSports has much more:
"I ran a streak and our coach said to high-point the ball," said Beyer, describing his incredible reception. "That's what I did. It was surreal. I didn't even know what was happening. I was so dead tired, but it felt incredible. This feels so great. I just want to close my eyes and try to remember this moment for the rest of my life." ...
Plymouth's defense was outstanding the entire afternoon. Beyer led the way with seven tackles and three sacks.
This week: The 11-2 Wildcats will take on Lake Orion at Ford Field on Friday at 1PM. The game will be televised on FSN+ and MHSAA.tv.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Kellen Jones' team lost 22-21 on the last play of the game, a 38 yard field goal. Kellen left in the fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain, but he had 9 total tackles, 6 solo, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF.
So there's that. Final chart below:
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0||0||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
|St. Thomas||W 28-10||11||3||1||0||0||0|
|Houston Christian||W 37-13||9||3||1||0||0||0|
|Houston Christian||W 49-7||8||1||1||0||0||1|
|St. Thomas||W 33-28||13||2||0||0||0||0|
|Bishop Lynch||L 21-22||9||3||1||1||0||0|
This week: St. Pius has seen their season come to an end.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Next Week: The 12-1 Technicians have seen their season end.
FL CB Dallas Crawford
South had 161 rushing yards and Crawford completed 11 of 14 attempts for 163 yards and two TDs.
Sammy Watkins had... a 23-yard TD pass to Crawford.
Dallas dedicated his performance to his father, who passed away last Friday:
“He was my biggest fan... He taught me everything I know,” Crawford said. “He taught me how to throw a football.”
Article 2. Rest in Peace, Steven Crawford.
|Dallas Crawford 2010|
|Cypress Lake||W 39-0||9||10||90.00||118||11.80||1||0||6||24||4.00||2||0||0|
|Bishop Verot||W 35-3||18||23||78.26||299||13.00||4||0||9||12||1.33||1||0||0|
|Gulf Coast||W 49-7||12||16||75.00||277||17.31||3||1||11||34||3.09||1||0||0|
|North Fort Myers||W 34-0||7||13||53.85||88||6.77||2||0||5||38||7.60||0||2||1|
|Fort Myers||W 43-10||10||13||76.92||144||11.08||1||0||12||38||3.17||2||0||0|
This week: Undefeateds square off as South Fort Myers travels to 11-0 Naples in Round 2 of the State Playoffs.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Lake Nona's season has ended with a 1-9 record. Sousa finished with 125/226 passing for 1936 yards with 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Rushing, he had 120 attempts for 835 yards and 6 touchdowns. For a full game-by-game stat breakdown, check out last week's FNL post.
MI WR Shawn Conway
Seaholm's season is over, with a 4-5 record. Conway finished the year with about 22 catches for 375 yards, and 11 kick/punt returns for 393 yards.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Traverse City West's season is over, with a 6-4 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
OH DE Chris Rock
DeSales's season ended at 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Fremont Ross's season is over, with a 9-2 record and a loss in the first round of the State Playoffs. Brown was named All-District.
[Ed-M: bumped from diary - MGoBlog's recruiting editor updates the status of defensive recruitment]
Since Justice Hayes just committed, and there were still people looking around to see if it was ok to ask if he plays defense, I thought I would help them out. Here's a look at who's left on the defensive front for Michigan recruiting.
First, who's committed so far:
|Brennen Beyer||DE||6'4", 225 lbs.||4 Star|
|Demetrius Hart||RB||5'8", 190 lbs.||4 Star|
|Justice Hayes||RB/Slot||5'10", 175 lbs.||4 Star|
|Dallas Crawford||DB||5'10", 185 lbs.||3 Star|
|Shawn Conway||WR||6'4", 183 lbs.||3 Star|
|Greg Brown||DB||5'10", 180 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jake Fisher||OL||6'7", 260 lbs.||3 Star|
|Delonte Hollowell||DB||5'8", 162 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kellen Jones||LB||6'1", 209 lbs.||3 Star|
|Jack Miller||OL||6'4", 270 lbs.||3 Star|
|Tony Posada||OL||6'5", 315 lbs.||3 Star|
|Chris Rock||DE/DT||6'5", 250 lbs.||3 Star|
|Kevin Sousa||QB||6'2", 220 lbs.||3 Star|
For those counting at home, that's six commitments out of thirteen that are on the defensive side of the ball. There are around 9 spots left, give or take, for Michigan to fill up this class with. These are the current defensive recruits that Michigan has a shot with.
6'4", 255 lbs.
West Branch, MI
|4 Stars||Junior Highlights|
|Zettel is waiting until after the season is over to make his announcement. He has already taken his official to Iowa (Nov. 20th), he's visiting Penn State this weekend, and will be at Michigan on December 10th for the Big Chill.|
6'5", 230 lbs.
|Philadelphia, PA||4 star||Deion Runs Fast|
|Barnes has Michigan in his top five along with Georgia, Penn State, Pitt, and South Carolina. He has mentioned several times he plans on visiting after the season. He may visit for December 10th as well.|
2011 Defensive Tackle Prospects
6'2", 275 lbs.
Lake City, FL
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Jernigan has Michigan in his top group with LSU, Alabama, and Florida State. He has made some recent trips to Florida, so I wouldn't count them out. I've been hearing a lot lately about Timmy, and a recruit actually told me that Jernigan really likes Michigan. He's concerned with our defensive scheme, however, so we'll see what happens.|
6'3", 275 lbs.
|Hyattsville, MD||4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Cooper is planning a winter visit to Michigan, and outside of Jernigan, is probably Michigan's best option at defensive tackle. His season ended in the WCAC championship game this weekend, so he's now focusing on recruiting.|
6'1", 310 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|While Johnson continues to list Michigan in his top group, I don't think he'll end up choosing the Wolverines. His name is still on the radar, but not likely.|
6'3", 210 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|As everyone knows, Frost just got back from his official visit to Michigan. This visit came at the perfect time for Frost, and for Michigan. He will take officials to LSU and Cal, and is going to try to make it back up to Michigan again before deciding at the US Army game. Frost will be an early enrollee. I included him here for argument sake, since he is also being recruited for receiver.|
6'1", 225 lbs.
|Holland, MI||3 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Morgan is a lifelong Michigan fan, and was beyond excited to receive his offer. He took an unofficial visit with his dad to the Illinois game, and will be back for an official visit on December 10th. He's taking his time, but I expect him to be in this class. If Michigan grabs Morgan and Frost, that will be a nice linebacker haul for the 2011 class with Kellen Jones already on board.|
5'10", 170 lbs.
Owings Mills, MD
|4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Countess has a top four of Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and Michigan. It's been rumored that Michigan is in the lead, but Georgia Tech might be right there with them. Countess plans on visiting December 3rd, and will also be playing in the US Army game.|
6'1", 170 lbs.
|Houma, LA||3 Star||N/A|
|If Michigan missed on Countess, they may finally offer Kitchen. Kitchen has said he's a big fan of Michigan, and would most likely commit if offered.|
5'11", 185 lbs.
|4 Star||Junior Highlights|
|Walls has already been to Michigan several times, including an official visit for the U Conn game. He has since taken visits to Oregon and Cal. I still think Michigan is in a good position, but I think Oregon has made a good impression on him. Due to an illness in his family he had put recruiting on the back burner. He still plans on taking a few more visits before he announces.|
6'0", 190 lbs.
|Ft. Lauderdale, FL||4 Star||Senior Highlights|
|Lyons recently announced that Michigan will get one of his official visits. That was huge news for the Wolverines, as they seem to be climbing up his list. Wayne plans on being up at Michigan on December 3rd, and then out to Nebraska on December 10th. He has already taken visits to Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA. Michigan is making a move with the talented safety.|
6'2", 210 lbs.
|5 Star||2010 Spring Game|
|I'm including Karlos on this list because he still maintains that he will visit Michigan. The visit will probably take place in January. I've heard that it's not likely he will switch from FSU, but there's at least a small chance. He has been recruiting hard for FSU, so don't get your hopes up, but who knows what could happen with a visit.|
6'2", 190 lbs.
|5 Star||Junior Highlights|
I'm including Ha'Sean for the same reason that I'm including Karlos, he still plans on visiting Michigan. I have heard that there's a small chance that he changes his mind from Alabama. Don't get your hopes up here either, but with his teammates selling Michigan and his visit you never know.
Michigan obviously doesn't have enough room to take everyone, and they're still looking for a few more offensive positions like tight end and offensive line. Most of the decision time tables for these recruits are after the season, or during the Army All American game. That should give Michigan plenty of time for visits, and a little extra push with coaching visits too.
Emotionally, this is an odd week for me. I find that I don't care about Ohio State at all. They're a very good team that's going to win in a not-that-competitive game on Saturday, like they always do. I get irritated at the hurr hurr coming from the Ohio State blogosphere but mostly because Michigan's so far from their level that it seems like a waste of time.
My hate still exists but it's focused internally, as the emails pile up and message boards pile on because I have the audacity to say if it was my decision I'd keep Rich Rodriguez on the condition he reshapes the defensive staff in such a way that we can expect them to do one boring thing reasonably well. I've explained why. In a sentence, the offense is excellent and should maintain that level over the next two years as the defense digs itself out from a massive hole.
This has caused the wing of the Michigan fanbase that thinks keeping Rodriguez is absolutely insane to search high and low for various metrics in which Michigan doesn't rate well. They can't take any of the basic stats...
|Rushing Offense||10||257.36||Georgia Tech||319.36||1||Michigan||257.36|
|Total Offense||5||514.55||Oklahoma St.||552||1||Michigan||514.55|
|Sacks Allowed||T-11||0.91||Stanford||0.36||1||Penn St.||0.91|
…and they certainly can't take any of the advanced metrics that rank Michigan second* and fifth nationally, so they resort to things like in-conference points per drive. Michigan is tied for third in the league in that metric.
If you are using this stat, you have decided that Rich Rodriguez should go and are backfilling reasons. If you're trying to downplay Michigan's second-half points against Iowa, Penn State and Wisconsin, you're doing the same thing. Michigan got back in those games by scoring often and quickly, by bombing away. Michigan scoring drives against Wisconsin lasted 3:57, 0:22, 2:19, and 2:57. They could do this because defenses were aligned to stop Michigan's powerful ground game even with big second-half leads, which is why Denard Robinson racked up a bunch of deep completions against single-covered WRs in the second half. Prevent defenses do not give up sixty yard touchdowns to tight ends, as Penn State did.
The whole reason the FO stats exist is to smooth out differences in opportunities and schedule strength as best they can and they indicate that whatever problems Michigan has don't include being the nation's #15 scoring offense against a schedule with two real nonconference opponents and without Northwestern (82nd in FEI D) and Minnesota (98th).
David Brandon's got a tough decision ahead of him—something it only seems that people who are still in favor of Rodriguez returning acknowledge—because the offense is elegantly constructed and deadly. Michigan's quarterback couldn't throw a pass straight in the first half and the receivers couldn't catch it when he did, but they still ended the day with more points than any Michigan team had scored against Wisconsin since 1990. The 31 they put up on Penn State were the most since 2000. They're solidly in the top five of the best metrics available with two seniors and a sophomore quarterback. They're going to obliterate the best rushing YPC mark Carr put up since the turn of the century by over a yard and finish in the top 20 in passing efficiency.
Anyone seriously arguing that Michigan's offense is not a reason to keep Rodriguez around is a raving lunatic. Period. I'm tired of being vilified for using numbers in non-abusive ways, but that's what we've come to. My hate week is about other Michigan fans.
*(FEI ranks Michigan second but has not been updated for last Week's games. Since Michigan put up a touchdown better than Wisconsin's scoring average any drop from Michigan will be minimal.)
So… Greg Robinson doesn't know how to run a 3-3-5. For whatever reason, Michigan is running a 3-3-5. This results in situations like this first quarter run for the Badgers that echoes several themes from the This Is Not A Stack post: by lining up his MLB just behind his nose tackle he dooms that guy to take one step to the playside, whereupon he is eaten by a guard who has no one lined up over him. Even if Michigan successfully plugs that hole they are crazy vulnerable to cutbacks and counters.
It's second and three on Wisconsin's second drive of the day. they come out in an I-form with twins to the field side. Michigan aligns in its stack formation with Jordan Kovacs—supposedly the bandit—aligned to the strong side of the formation, with Cam Gordon hovering over the wide receiver stack to the outside:
Wisconsin's going to run a simple iso play that's designed to go off the right side of the line. You can see in shot two Demens's alignment just three yards off the LOS:
Martin's getting momentarily doubled in the shot below but the G peels off quickly to block the rolled-up Demens. On the backside Ryan Van Bergen has gotten kicked out and Mouton is staring down a free release from the backside G:
Demens is swallowed. I think the idea here is to force Wisconsin to come off their double of Martin quickly, allowing him to run free and eat people, but don't quote me on that. Ezeh is attacking the FB, and there's nothing on the frontside:
Because Martin has slanted past the center and Van Bergen has gotten kicked out there's a big cutback lane. Mouton is in a bad situation, essentially standing still as a guard comes out on him. Demens is getting blocked; the OG has his arm around his back. This never gets called holding but he's being held:
Mouton gets blasted three yards downfield and gives up the inside. Courtney Avery was filling from his overhang spot and could have maybe held this under three yards but once Mouton gets hit in that position the RB cut past him and it's up to Demens and/or Martin to spin of blocks and close it down.
They can't. Vinopal is forced to tackle ten yards downfield.
Object lesson type objects:
- Theory as to the deployment of Kenny Demens two feet from his NT. Demens threatens to shoot into the backfield immediately on plays like this, which seriously reduces the time Wisconsin guards have to double Mike Martin. This allows Martin to use his quickness to slant under the center, get to the playside, and close off holes.
- Problem with the deployment of Kenny Demens two feet from his NT. Once you're engaged with an OL he is going to grab you and delay you and let go before he gets a flag, so you can attempt to get off him and close down the massive cutback hole you've opened up by shooting both your MLB and NT to the playside but you're probably not going to make it.
- Second problem with the deployment. I imagine it has something to do with opponents' consistent ability to hit balls over the linebackers and in front of the safeties; having your linebackers five yards off the LOS gives them more time to reduce throwing windows. I've charted basically all of Tolzein's throws and three or four could have been shut down if the linebackers had been a yard or three deeper.
- WTF Van Bergen? When Michigan is aligned in this fashion the overhang guy—in this case Courtney Avery—is in great position to shut down anything that bounces all the way outside to the short side. With both Demens and Martin headed playside RVB should be flowing down the line, relying on Kovacs to bounce anything that gets behind him and Avery to clean up. Instead he gets upfield and seals himself, basically, leaving Mouton in acres of space with a guard bubbled over him.
- Mouton could do better here, too. It's never good when you're taking on an OL three yards downfield and that OL is moving while you're not.
Ironically, I think this MLB deployment would have worked out okay for Ezeh, who's a big guy with some pop but terribly indecisive. Here there's not much of a decision. Line goes one way, you pound the playside guard ASAP. It seems like a waste for Demens, who has displayed good read and react skills in his brief career as a starter.
I was looking for an adjustment here where Michigan would defense something like this by not having Demens right at the LOS but haven't found it yet. I've seen a lot of small guys getting battered and crappy pursuit angles. I'm not sure if my haziness on what the appropriate play is is my fault or the defense's fault; it seems like Michigan players are making basic errors but it could be a shifting scheme in which a guy like JB Fitzgerald's attempt to defeat a downblock sees him go from the LOS at the snap to six yards off the LOS outside the hashmarks.
More than anything this seems like another example where the scheme is either incoherent or the players don't know what they're doing. Van Bergen getting upfield is the killer here and makes no sense given the alignment of the D.
[Ed: bumped for general interestingness.]
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielma made the following statement after the Badgers 48-28 victory over Michigan on Saturday:
"We're not the spread offense, so it's not sexy," he said. "We're not on the [top] of everybody's wish list. But I tell you what—48 points is fun."
This, after Michigan’s vaunted offense had stalled out at inopportune times and Wisconsin’s pro-style attack had done as it pleased throughout the game en route to 48 points on 558 yards with only one punt along the way. The Wisconsin offense had more fun than Michigan’s.
Despite claims that it cannot be successful in major college football, there is little doubt that the spread offense, in general, works at the highest level of the NCAA. The top two teams in the nation this season, Oregon and Auburn, both employ it in some fashion. The spread is viable, just as the pro-style is viable. However, there is wide variation in productivity across teams within the same basic offensive scheme.
Michigan’s spread offense this year has been something of a revelation, thanks largely to the ascendance of Denard Robinson. The feats that Robinson has accomplished as a true sophomore in his first season as a starter are truly remarkable. This is virtually indisputable. With two games remaining in the season, he has already broken the all-time FBS rushing record for a quarterback and has become the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards while rushing for 1,500. His season has been an historic one.
Behind Robinson, Michigan’s offense has been at the top of the Big Ten and in the top five nationally for much of the season in terms of yards per game. Big plays abound, and 500-yard games have become more the rule than the exception. This prolific output has created much buzz around the offensive side of the ball (and stand in stark contrast the immense struggles of the defense). Indeed, the offense has almost single-“sidedly” carried the team to victories against Illinois, Indiana, and Notre Dame, and its fluency has become the loudest argument for Rich Rodriguez to stay at the helm in Ann Arbor beyond this season.
However, the offense has been outshined in Michigan’s losses. In these contests, Michigan's offense didn't just fail to play like a top-five unit nationally. It wasn't the better unit on the field during the game. In these games, Michigan produced 377, 522, 423, and 442 yards against Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin, respectively, while yielding 536, 383, 435, and 558 yards. Michigan’s maligned defense was party to these opponents’ gaudy offensive outputs, but Michigan’s offense did not keep pace. Not surprisingly, these four opponents also have some of the best scoring defenses of the teams that Michigan has faced this year, and the question arises as to whether Michigan’s “sexy” offense can be successful against good defensive teams.
The offense has improved in three seasons under Rodriguez, and, even now, it remains young. Its leader, Robinson, is a true sophomore, as is starting tailback Vincent Smith. The starting offensive line has only one senior [ed: depending on the health of Perry Dorrestein] and the wide receiver corps has none. One could argue that there is still room for growth and that the trajectory demonstrated over the past two years under Rodriguez is positive. Still, it bears examining exactly where the offense is at present. Is it an unstoppable force or a paper tiger? Or something in between? This analysis dissects the Michigan offense with one game to go in the 2010 season.
Yards, scoring, games, and drives
Michigan’s offense works fast. There is no huddle. They get to the line of scrimmage quickly. They gain yards in chunks. They score in a flash. All of this, in part, leads to shorter times of possession per drive, which generally leads to more drives per game (the defense giving up long, run-laden drives to the opponent notwithstanding). Michigan, as of November 19, had the most drives in the Big Ten this season (105, tied with Illinois) against BCS competition. Wisconsin had the fewest number of drives in the Big Ten against BCS opponents with 71.
A more useful way of understanding offensive effectiveness than looking at yards per game is to examine what an offense does with a typical drive. The importance of drives was illustrated in the first half of the Michigan-Wisconsin game, as Michigan had only four full drives to work with. What a team does with a drive is a means of measuring offense that allows for fair cross-team comparison. As of Friday, Michigan averaged 2.57 points per drive (PPD) this season against BCS teams, good for third in the Big Ten, behind Wisconsin (3.72) and Ohio State (3.19) and tied with Iowa.
Table 1 - Points per drive against BCS opponents
Calculated with data from www.cfbstats.com: drives = punts + fumbles lost + interceptions + failed 4th down conversions + FG attempts + TDs
Michigan’s offense is above-average relative to other teams in the conference in this stat but not as dominant as the yardage number suggest. Stated alternatively, this statistic suggests that Michigan scores a touchdown roughly one out of three drives against BCS competition. When taking into consideration the number of drives in which an offense has an opportunity to score, Michigan's offense is still among the leaders in the Big Ten.
“Michigan’s offense can score on anybody”
It goes without saying that an offense typically performs worse against a better defense. One would expect an offense to do less with a typical drive against a good defense compared to a bad defense. However, with Michigan this season, this relationship is ambiguous. Table 2 shows Michigan's BCS opponents’ points-allowed-per-game (PAPG) against BCS competition alongside Michigan’s PPD against them.
Table 2 - Michigan's PPD by BCS opponent and opponent's scoring defense against BCS competition
Calculated with data from boxscores at www.mgoblue.com and team statistics from www.cfbstats.com
Michigan’s most productive games, in terms of PPD, came against Indiana, Connecticut, Penn State, Illinois, and Wisconsin, in that order. Against these foes, Michigan’s PPD was better than what would be considered average in the Big Ten this season and better than their own average through the Wisconsin game. Indiana has the worst scoring defense among Michigan’s nine BCS opponents, and Michigan’s offense enjoyed their best PPD output against them. Otherwise, Connecticut has the fifth best scoring defense, Penn State the seventh, Illinois the sixth, and Wisconsin the third. Michigan’s worst PPD came against Purdue, who has a poor scoring defense (eighth among opponents), but weather conditions during that game may explain this apparent deviation. Further, it could be argued that Connecticut’s relatively low points-allowed-per-game is due their membership in the Big East and a weaker slate of BCS competition. Regardless, with a sample size of well over one hundred drives, opponents’ scoring defense does not predict Michigan’s PPD with statistical significance (p = .42). These results would appear to support claims that Michigan’s productive offense can “score against anybody” and could perhaps provide evidence against arguments that Rodriguez’s spread offense cannot succeed against good defensive teams.
All drives are not created equal
The success of a drive varies in importance based on the circumstances of the game. Scoring a touchdown when the score is tied is more valuable than scoring a touchdown when down 30. One criticism of the Michigan offense this season is that it struggles to capitalize on opportunities to extend leads and put teams away. Table 3 shows that Michigan has scored a touchdown on 48% of drives when the game is tied, 44% of drives when they are behind, and only 17% of drives when they are ahead. This difference in scoring percentage across these three situational categories is statistically significant (χ = 12.12, p < .05). Michigan’s drives are apparently more successful when the score is even or when they are behind. They have scored touchdowns at a much lower rate when in position to go up by multiple scores.
Table 3 - Michigan's situational drive scoring outcomes (count and row percentages shown)
|No points||Field goal||Touchdown||PPD|
|Ahead||34 (81%)||1 (2%)||7 (17%)||1.21|
|Tied||10 (44%)||2 (9%)||11 (48%)||3.61|
|Behind||22 (51%)||2 (5%)||19 (44%)||3.23|
Calculated with data from boxscores at www.mgoblue.com
A further criticism of Michigan’s offense is that it not only fails to put games away when presented with an opportunity, but also that it is successful against good defenses only when the game is already out of hand, that is, when the opponent is ahead by a wide margin. In all games against BCS competition, Michigan has scored touchdowns on 46% of drives that begin with them down by ten or more points; they have scored touchdowns on only 30% of drives that begin with them within ten points, tied, or ahead. This difference, however, is not statistically significant (p = .21). How does this difference bear out against good defenses?
The best defenses Michigan has faced this year are Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, which are also three of the top four teams in the Big Ten (along with Ohio State). Against these teams, Michigan’s offense has performed well when they are down by ten or more points. In these large-deficit scenarios, the offense has averaged 2.80 PPD, above their overall season average and toward the top end of the Big Ten. When down by ten or more, they have scored touchdowns on eight of 20 occasions, a rate of 40%. When the game is close (i.e., when Michigan is within ten, tied, or ahead) the story is considerably different for this team. When the game is still in the balance, Michigan has averaged 1.43 PPD, with two field goals and two touchdowns (14% rate) in 14 opportunities—this is significantly worse than when the deficit is large (χ = 4.87, p < .10).
Table 4 - Michigan's situational drive scoring outcomes against top defenses (count and row percentages shown)
|No points||Field goal||Touchdown||PPD|
|Down 10+ points||12 (60%)||0 (0%)||8 (40%)||2.80|
|Within 10 points, tied, or ahead||10 (71%)||2 (14%)||2 (14%)||1.43|
Calculated with data from boxscores at www.mgoblue.com
The data show that Michigan’s offense has been poor—as bad as the worst Big Ten teams’ average PPD output—against the best teams in the Big Ten when the game is close. Their most impressive offensive work against these good teams has come once they already trail significantly, in which case they have performed above-average relative to average Big Ten PPD standards.
So is the Michigan offense an elite offense?
Looking at the success of offensive drives, a statistic that controls for the pace of the game and the number of overall opportunities an offense has, Michigan has a good offense relative to the rest of the Big Ten—they are tied for third in productivity with Iowa, behind Wisconsin and Ohio State. Michigan averages the most yards per game and has scored the second most points in the conference, but they have also had the most opportunities to accumulate yards and points, most likely due to the fast pace at which they execute their offense, the quickness with which they have sometimes scored, and their high rate of turnovers. They are third best in the Big Ten at capitalizing on drives.
So, is Michigan’s spread offense under Rodriguez elite? The answer appears to be, “circumstantially.” They perform very well when the game is tied or when they trail. The offense struggles, however, to pull away when they have a lead. Further, the offense has struggled in close-game situations against the best Big Ten teams. There is much variability in how the offense performs, dependent, in part, on the score of the game when the offense assumes possession.
This situational inconsistency may be attributable to a variety of factors (e.g., youth and inexperience on offense, conservative play-calling when ahead, nerves), and one can speculate as to which are most salient. These analyses are intended to deconstruct the offense and offer a more nuanced picture of the state of that side of the ball, beyond a rough yards- or points-per-game. With the travails of Michigan’s defense this season, it is tempting (and perhaps healthful) to look at the offense as being “solid” and not something to worry about. Compared to the defensive unit, this may be true, but there are interesting and complicated phenomena at play with Michigan’s sexy side, as well.
Other tidbits from the data
Starting field position does not significantly affect the likelihood of the Michigan offense scoring a touchdown (odds ratio = .98, p = .20).
Michigan’s offensive productivity, in terms of PPD, is highest in the first quarter (2.81), followed by the third (2.72), fourth (2.33), and second (2.00) quarters.
Michigan’s offensive productivity against good defenses (Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin), in terms of PPD, is highest by far in the third quarter (3.50), followed by the fourth (2.63), first (1.43), and second (1.11) quarters.
Michigan has yet to score on its third drive of any game versus a BCS opponent this season; its highest PPD is on its second drive of the game (4.22).
There is variation in the point outcome of a drive, that is, some drives end in zero points, some in three, some in seven. This variation may be due to factors associated with the opponent (e.g., the quality of their defense) or factors associated just with the drive (e.g., whether the team is ahead or behind when the drive begins). Cluster analyses show that almost 100% of the variance in Michigan’s points earned on a drive is due to factors associated with the unique drive. This suggests that our opponent, per se, has little bearing on the outcome of a drive, once one takes into consideration unique aspects of the drive, such as the how far ahead or behind Michigan is.
Surprise! MI RB Justice Hayes is the newest member of Michigan's class of 2011.
That's more like it.
|4*, #14 RB||4*, 5.9 #3 APB, #84 Overall||4*, 79, #22 RB|
The three recruiting sites are in approximate agreement on Hayes' size: he's 5-10, and with weights listed from 175-182, I'm inclined to go with the weirdly specific one. We'll settle on an average of 180 pounds. Scout Profile:
Very conscious of clearing his feet from the arm tacklers going low. Runs bigger than his listed size. Makes people miss with subtle moves rather than exaggerated lateral movement. Very good runner in traffic helps him eat up chunks of yardage quickly despite not having blazing top end speed. Very little wasted motion in his running style. Vision in traffic makes him valuable between the tackles despite his size - Scott Kennedy, Scout.com
On himself, also from the Scout profile:
“I’m quick and have great speed. I can make defenders miss and take it to the end zone on any given play. I’m also not afraid to go up the middle, but I’m more of a shifty, all-purpose back. I still want to continue getting faster and work on my flat out speed. Plus, I want to get bigger and stronger and be more of an every-down back.”
The top-end speed comment is echoed by the scouts. ESPN:
Has good top-end speed and an extra gear to separate when he turns the corner but does appear quicker than fast at times. That said, Hayes has big-play potential with his initial burst and ability to reach top-speed extremely quick.
This sentence fragment essentially says "Justice Hayes has good top-end speed, but does not have good top-end speed." The Worldwide leader has much more:
Hayes is a quick, gliding running back with a lot of natural ability... Flashes great elusiveness and suddenness through the hole and second level... A great jump-cutter who consistently makes the first guy miss but will also stick his foot in the ground and get north; elusive but a decisive runner as well... Very slippery and does not give defenders a clean shot. Polished hands and receiving skills out of the backfield add to his upside...
Which all leads to the payoff:
Would make an ideal space-player in a spread offense at the next level; could develop into a great weapon if used creatively.
Though he's been exclusively evaluated as a running back by the recruiting sites, that seems to imply that he's athletic and versatile enough to play multiple positions at the next level, including slot. In fact, the main body of ESPN's breakdown sounds like the ideal slot.
Hayes's coach breaks down his game a bit, in comparison to former Michigan signee Reggie Benton and reigning Heisman winner Mark Ingram:
"They'll find a way to get themselves in the open, make guys miss and get into the end zone... Either they've got vision and can see things other kids can't - those cutbacks, those lanes, those little areas - or they don't." ...
Delaney said the one area in which Hayes stands out is as a receiver. Hayes has caught 41 passes for 448 yards and four touchdowns the past two seasons. "If nothing else, Justice could be a receiver in college," Delaney said. "Being able to bring him out of the backfield allows us to do so much more. His hands are better than Mark's, and Mark has real good hands."
"Could be a receiver in college," given everything else we've read, and the current composition of Michigan's recruiting class... sounds like a future slot to me.
Since Hayes recently decommitted from Notre Dame, he obviously held an offer from the Irish. He picked Michigan over the Domers and Tennessee in his short re-recruitment. Hayes also held offers from almost the entire Big Ten (he lacked Ohio State and Penn State), including Michigan State, who cannot recruit in-state, it appears.
Hayes had a senior-year injury (fear not, just a broken wrist - unlikely to have long term effects, since he isn't Brandon Minor), which limited his production, but Scout brings the details on his sophomore and junior stats:
He rushed for 1,122 yards on 163 carries and five touchdowns as a sophomore. Also caught 22 passes for 239 yards and one touchdown.
Justice Hayes finished his junior season with 1,400 yard rushing for 15 touchdowns on 175 carries.
Those don't seem terribly specific (his Youtube highlight, embedded below, has sightly different junior numbers), so I'll look for more precise stats when researching Friday Night Lights. Speaking of which, expect a slight delay today, as I add numbers for Michigan's newest commit.
FAKE 40 TIME
Scout and Rivals are nearly in agreement: The former says 4.45, the latter 4.44. Hayes is a guy who's forthcoming about his own lack of top-end speed, and those are very impressive numbers. I'll bestow three FAKES out of five.
Here's his junior year:
I couldn't find any free senior video on the tubes.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
As implied above, it sounds likely that Hayes's eventual destination is as a slot receiver. It'll be a crowded backfield for the next few years, and the Wolverines will have an option in Dee Hart that seems more like a perfect fit for the RB position in this offense than Hayes is. He may get some backfield carries here and there, but the majority of his contributions should come as a slot. There's a chance he plays defense instead, but that seems unlikely.
So, likely position change, coming off a senior year injury, going to a spot that will have lots of experienced depth? Sounds like a certain redshirt to me. After a year to watch and learn, Kelvin Grady and Tae Odoms will graduate, leaving just Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, and Drew Dileo competing for a spot opposite Roy Roundtree.
So, it sounds like he won't be an every-down type of contributor until his redshirt sophomore season, which gives Justice plenty of time to learn the offense, and get a bit of experience as a sub before he'll be relied upon. I'm not sure if he might get a bit of time on the return unit before that, but it's another way to get him on the field.
As a junior and senior, Hayes has the potential to be an All-Conference performer. I also predict at least three years of horrible "Justice in Ann Arbor" jokes from TV announcers.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Hayes has probably taken the only available scholarship for an RB/slot player, meaning DeVondrick Nealy and Prince Holloway are probably out of luck. Justice's commitment gives the Wolverines the #1 and #3 All-Purpose Backs to Rivals, a formidable duo to say the least.
The story in recruiting stays the same: The Wolverines are probably looking for one outside receiver (though it's not imperative), a tight end, and one more offensive lineman. The rest of the scholarships should be spent on defense.
Speaking of that outside receiver spot, with Sammy Watkins's surprising commitment to Clemson, might Hayes be able to convince his buddy DeAnthony Arnett to consider the Wolverines again? I'm not sure, but it would be welcome.