No Bad Plays
As recruits turn their focus to the first couple weeks of their high school season, the recruiting news firehose has slowed to a trickle for the moment. Thankfully, scouting of Michigan prospects is in full swing.
There are a lot of things that Roseboro does well, that's been documented, but sometimes it's difficult for casual followers to find weaknesses. When highlights are viewed they are just that - highlights. Snider insists that a lot of times what you see is what you get with Roseboro.
"I think it's really tough to identify weaknesses with him," Snider admitted. "He's pretty tough to block. I think that as a sophomore he might've taken a play off now and then, but last year he didn't really do that. He was much more aggressive and tough."
Roseboro's highlights are, well, highlights, so if he's bringing that on a snap-to-snap basis, that's great to hear.
Reports continue trickling in from last weekend's games. Josh Newkirk spoke with LB commit Darrin Kirkland Jr. after he recorded 17 tackles, four TFLs, a fumble recovery, and an interception in his team's opener to discuss the improvements in his game this year ($):
At 6-foot-2, 226-pounds, Kirkland says he worked on his strength mostly this off-season and it showed in his game on Saturday.
“I feel like my strength could be one of the key assets of my game,” Kirkland said. “Being able to shed blockers. That’s one of the biggest things I needed to conquer. As well as my quickness and my speed. Just not to be blocked by lineman, because some are very athletic. It’s helped me a lot. I have been covering sideline to sideline, and it’s really helped me in coverage as well.”
That extra work certainly appeared to pay off in week one. Kirkland also mentioned that he's struck up a friendship with five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South; both will be on campus for the Penn State game.
[Hit THE JUMP for Where In The World Is Tim Sullivan, the latest on Chris Clark, several 2016 prospect updates, and more.]
Taken moments after the final person complained about Funchess switching to #1[Upchurch]
The Four Factors*
|Field Position||Bonus Yards||Conversion Rate||Red Zone|
|Michigan||29.0 pts||5.9 yds/play||80%||7.0 pts/trip|
Total domination of a weaker opponent in every category. Michigan’s huge advantage in field position is partially driven by starting a drive with an extra point after Gedeon’s blocked punt return**. But even without that play, it was a large field position advantage, especially considering Michigan didn’t force any turnovers.
The 25% conversion rate allowed is significantly better than any number from last season. Last year’s opener was Michigan’s best game when they allowed CMU 47% conversions. Both bonus yards and bonus yards allowed were better than any numbers posted during the 2013 season.
*A quick refresh:
Field Position is expected points an average team will score given the starting field position over the course of the game. Defensive/special teams touchdowns count as 7 points.
Bonus Yards are any yards gained beyond the first down yardline, a measure of offensive explosiveness. >3 ypp is elite offensively, <2 is elite defensively
Conversion Rate is first downs gains divided by first downs started, a measure of an offense’s ability to move the chains consistently. >80% is elite offensively and <65% is elite defensively.
Red Zone is points per red zone trip. >5.7 is elite offensively and <4.3 is elite defensively. This is the weakest predictor of the four factors.
All factors except field position are only measured on competitive series (all series in the first half and any second half series that starts or ends within 15 points).
**I know some people don’t like that I include return TD’s in this number but I think if you are going to count it if he gets tackled at the 1, it doesn’t make sense to exclude it if he makes it all the way in.
Devin Gardner: +13.3 expected points, +26% win percent added
Derrick Green: +2.9, +4% (+9.3 including second half)
De’Veon Smith: +7.4, +7% (+9.8 including second half)
Devin Funchess: +9.2, +18% on 8 targets
None of these numbers are opponent adjusted yet. De’Veon Smith is the highest non-adjusted total for a Michigan running back since Fitzgerald Toussaint added 9.4 points of value against Purdue in 2011.
[Jump, game chart and such]
Hello again. That was fun. Let’s do it again. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn much this week because everyone played cupcakes, soup cans, and assorted other non-challenging foodstuffs.
About Last Week:
Yep. That’s what you did. (h/t Ace, obviously)
The Road Ahead:
Notre Dame (1-0, 0-0 quasi-ACC)
Last week: Beat Rice (48-17)
Recap: Rice kept it close for a while (it was 14-10 late in the first half), and then it really really wasn’t close. Everett Golson threw for 295 yards at 13.4 YPA and 2 TDs, and ran for three more scores. Rice just wasn’t athletic enough to hang with ND’s playmakers. The Owls did average 8.7 yards per pass, which would have been their third best average last year ago.
But while this was an encouraging debut for the Irish, the hole they’re digging continues to get deeper. Safety Eilar Hardy was suspended in the ongoing EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER situation, and starting safety Austin Collinsworth sprained an MCL. As a result, Notre Dame’s defensive two-deep now features… you. Congratulations. Suit up. And please do your own homework.
This team is as frightening as:
Michigan should worry about: There’s still a chance Notre Dame un-suspends these players, which will be in no way related to the fact that they are playing Michigan this week.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Even if they DO reinstate these guys, they will get one real practice (at most) after sitting out of practice for weeks. So they almost certainly won’t play, and if they do they will be rusty as hell.
When they play Michigan: The all-time win percentage will be on the line… until Notre Dame vacates a bunch of wins.
Next game: vs. Michigan, 7:30 p.m. Saturday (NBC)
[We jump, and then I have to pretend I learned something from Utah-Idaho State]
[ED (Seth): Welcome to a new regular-ish feature on the site. Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, has been writing up tailgating recipes on his blog MMMGoBluBBQ and we're moving him over here because we can and because we've wanted to bring the tailgate experience into the fold. We can do this now because Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and it turned out their CEO really likes this blog, and we like Joe's recipes, and our cardiovascular systems must suffer.]
The football season is finally here and I could not be more excited. Not only do we get to see how our new offensive guru plans to operate things, but we also get to fire up the grills and smokers as we sip on a few "barley pops". Since we are playing Notre Dame under the lights and will most likely have a full house by game time, I wanted to make something that will feed a crowd. Is there anything more tasty and fun to eat than a slider? I don't think so. Here is what you will need.
- Pork Tenderloins
- Slider Buns
- White Cheddar or Swiss Cheese
- BBQ Rub
- BBQ Sauce (Honey Pecan or Hickory Bourbon)
Sophomore guard Kyle Bosch is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team, per this release from the athletic department:
Below is a statement from Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke:
“Kyle Bosch has taken a leave of absence for an undetermined amount of time for personal reasons. We ask that his privacy be respected at this time. We wish him the best and look forward to his return.”
Bosch started three games as a true freshman last year, but only played one snap in the opener. His most recent tweet didn't indicate any issue with the program—in fact, quite the opposite:
Couldn't be prouder having the people family, and teammates that care about me I love em all couldn't be prouder to be a wolverine
— Kyle Bosch (@Kyle_Bosch65) September 1, 2014
Here's hoping Bosch is able to work through whatever is going on at this time.
Our contest with the eponymous functionality returns.
How this works again:
- Readers predict the final score of a designated game by placing a guess in the comments, preferably in the format of [M score][hyphen][Opp score], for example "41-30" or "35-31 Michigan", or "28-24 Go Blue", or "38-34 Gardner FTW!" or "38-0" etc.
- The three guys who read this part holler at people who post in a different format
- First person (by timestamp) to post a particular score has it.
- If you got it right, I contact you for an address by your MGoBlog account email, and you give me some time to get that to you.
- If nobody got it right we push it to next week or let it go.
- Brian voices displeasure at the puns in the headlines.
About Last Week:
Didn't happen and exactly nobody minded.
This Week's Game:
As we wave farewell to this rivalry that has meant so much less to one of us than playing Purdue a lot, we could remember the times we shared, the preposterous 4-point wins, highlight packages to the tune of Benny Hill, that photo of Crable, and the astounding leaps we made to reach all of those impossible footballs and conclusions.
Instead, we choose to commemorate this final meeting with that thing they misspelled on the cups. So long, Fig Things. May you shake down as much thunder from the sky as you do bird poop.
And on the Line…
This 24" x 32" print by renowned portrait artist (and namesake/godson of Bennie Oosterbaan) Ben McCready. From left: Carter, Harmon, Chappuis, Bennie, Kramer, Desmond. Plus some configurations of the stadium. Ace and I already have ours in our "offices."
And one for Mott: If you'd rather skip guessing the score and just get one, Ben has this available as a limited 24x32 edition at an MGoBlog discount of $100 ($25 off), or get the 18" x 24" open edition for $50. For every print sold Ben said he will donate an extra print of that size to a patient at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, in the buyer's name.
Fine print: One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game. MGoEmployees and Moderators exempt from winning. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm cheated. No algorithm demonstrates as much class and commitment to education as much as The Algorithm does when their student athletes are committing academic fraud. The algorithm blames Jeeves.This is not the algorithm. It just thinks it is.
file, but he did have the same polo on today
News bullets and other items:
- There’s a plan for the offensive line. It’s a good plan.
- We are not going to talk about any injuries.
“You ready? Thanks for coming. We had a very good practice yesterday which sometimes that's unusual with the first day of school because they're in classes and they've been in the fall camp where they had a little bit more time but from that standpoint I thought we compete and they challenged. It's a big mental day. Tuesdays always are because of the game plan. We were pretty sharp in that respect. Got to be sharper today because of the improvement every day, Because that's going to be important to our team. We're excited about the opportunity Saturday. It's one of the great rivalries and it'll be fun and it'll be a great atmosphere and we look forward to it."
Will Desmond Morgan play?
”Well, you know, we are not going to talk about any injuries.”
So he is injured?
“I didn't say that, you did.”
Jake Butt it looks like was running around on the film and some of those clips they released. Is there a chance…
“We are not talking about injuries. That's a good job though. Appreciate it.”
In terms of that, you said earlier that his timetable was...
“He's done a nice job.”
Greg Mattison has talked about preparing for Everett Golson. Is there something you do differently on the scout team here to prepare for a guy who is a dual threat?
“Yeah. We've used wide receivers in the past. Joe Reynolds was great to use because he was a quarterback in high school, so we've done that with some of the guys. Brian Cleary runs very well and he's done a good job with it and Wilton [Speight], as big as he is and as tall as he is is really a good athlete so those two have given us good looks. We've, because of the first opponent, worked really hard on the zone read aspect of it. Again, you're going to play a really good athlete. We have to have 11 guys getting to the football.”
Do you feel like maybe a construction foreman now because you've laid a pretty good foundation so far? Talk about building this week on top of what you've laid.
“When we got done with the game on Saturday, graded the game on Saturday, looked at it, dissected it, there's so many areas where we want to play more flawless. I know the linebackers felt that they didn't play as well as they need to. I know up front defensively, the inside guys, as far as getting off blocks a little better, holding the point a little better. The precision in the passing game. We had a quarterback who was 13 of 14 but from a mechanical standpoint, a route running standpoint, protection was pretty good but we are going to see a lot of different things this week from Notre Dame. You got to just react, communicate, and play a lot better.”
What about accountability like that [Ed.- this is referencing a microphone going out and the A/V guy taking responsibility for it]? I'm sure it extends to your players as well.
“Well, there's no question. The commitment level and the accountability to each other and what this group has done since last January, you know, has really been at a high level and we want to make sure it stays that way. The intensity in the stress that we can continue to put on our players so that when you do go to a great venue and play a game, a place where it's going to be loud – they pipe in their own music, as we all know. It's right in back of us. It's a place where we've got to play with a lot of focus. Got to be locked into everything we are doing.”
[More fun after THE JUMP]
FORMATION NOTES: They promised it all offseason and they delivered on it:
In your face bro. Note that this was an example of something I started calling "30 slide"*, as the linemen are basically head up on the tackles and center with Frank Clark as a sort of standup end/SAM.
*[The idea being this is a 30 front (three linemen head up on tackles and the center like a 3-4) with three linebackers slid as if they are in an under.]
Another example is even clearer:
Note that in both of these shots, the three-tech is in fact to the bottom of the screen instead of between Clark and the nose as you might expect. I had not seen this before, because Michigan doesn't run it and they weren't spread enough last year for anyone to do it against them but since Appalachian State also ran it…
this was in fact their base D probably
…and they are right in the heart of spread on spread warfare I figure it is the latest fad when you need to account for the QB in the run game. I'll get Adam to ask Mattison about it next week—unfortunately, they moved the coordinator pressers up a day so I was not educated on anything before that time came. I'll try to accelerate my UFRing process, something that is now feasible with fast downloads and the lack of TWIS on my plate.
They also of course ran a lot of standard nickel:
Michigan also debuted a weird 3-3-5-ish package with Frank Clark at "MLB":
This happened twice. On both plays Clark was running at the frontside guard on the snap, impacted him, blew him back, forced a cutback, and then no one was there. More on that later.
Michigan also played some bonafide dime snaps:
These had three DL, two linebackers, and six DBs. Generally it was Delonte Holowell getting the extra nickel snaps but that's more in the…
PERSONNEL NOTES: Deep breath. On the line it was Beyer-Henry-Glasgow-Clark to start with copious substitution. Your nominal second string based on playing time was Charlton-Wormley-???-Ojemudia, with the NT ??? a combination of Pipkins, Mone, and Hurst. Pipkins looked by far the best of those guys; I expect that NT rotation to quickly settle down into Glasgow and Pip alternating with scattered snaps elsewhere. Godin got some real PT early at 3-tech.
At linebacker, Ryan, Bolden, and Morgan seemed to get about equivalent PT. Ross got a number of snaps as the game went along as an ILB. IIRC, Jenkins-Stone only saw snaps as a nickel DE late. Gedeon and McCray got in for the last drive.
Michigan played nickel on I think literally every snap they weren't playing dime. That was Peppers spotted by Hollowell and then Hollowell after Peppers got dinged. Taylor and Countess got starters' minutes at outside CB with Lewis coming in frequently; Stribling did not see time until heavy substitution began in the third quarter. Richardson got in there too.
Starting safeties were Wilson and Clark; Thomas got quite a lot of PT starting in the second quarter, with walk-on AJ Pearson seeing the field on ASU's interminable second scoring drive.
And hamburgers: I thought I was done calling people CGordon and TGordon and just realized we have two Clarks. I tried to clarify who was who below; I imagine you can figure it out if I missed a couple.
[After the JUMP: a big table! and some other stuff.]
Notre Dame handled last year's Conference USA champs, Rice, with relative ease last Saturday, averaging nine yards per play in a 48-17 win. Everett Golson returned from last season's suspension with a huge performance. What does it mean for this weekend's game? Read on to learn about the ND offense.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread-to-pass. This is Brian Kelly's offense, after all. Thanks to Seth, this section now also covers personnel in a handy diagram. Returning starters are highlighted in their team color, the player's bubble is smaller if he hasn't been on the team for three years, and a player's name is in bold if the returning starter at that position is available—in this case, RB Cam McDaniel is in bold because Amir Carlisle, who split starts with McDaniel and a couple other backs in 2013, has moved to the slot (click to embiggen):
As you can see, the Irish have an experienced line, but their skill position players are relatively green, especially when considering Golson wasn't on the team last year.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? The Irish ran mostly inside and outside zone, with a little bit of power tossed in to keep the defense off balance. They were at their best running behind the excellent RG/C combo of Christian Lombard and Nick Martin.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Notre Dame plays at a relatively slow pace, especially for a spread; they had an adjusted pace last year of 36.6% compared to the national average, per Bill Connelly. That number is slightly deceiving, as ND usually gets to the line with plenty of time on the play clock, then makes pre-snap adjustments from their formation; they can pick up the pace when it's necessary.
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): I'll give Everett Golson a solid eight on this scale. He did a stellar job of feeling and avoiding pressure in the pocket, he knew when to bail out and when to just step up, and he scored three touchdowns in the red zone, two on plays that weren't designed to be QB runs. Here's the designed run, a draw they ran a few times successfully:
Golson finished with 58 yards on 11 carries with sacks removed, and a few of those carries were marginal gains when pressure flushed him out of the pocket. Michigan is going to have to be very disciplined when they rush the passer or Golson will make some big plays on his own.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Ryan under the microscope [Eric Upchurch]
Hello. As per usual, a game against a tomato can causes me to dig up something negative because I figure that the bad things that happen against weak teams are more likely to recur than the good ones. I'm not being negative, I'm being useful!
After this opening paragraph it may not surprise you that I didn't think Ryan had a particularly good game as Michigan's MLB. There were a couple of opportunities to contrast him with Desmond Morgan on similar plays that didn't come out well for Ryan. To the stillmobile!
Taking on blockers
App State had one drive of any consequence before Michigan started throwing third stringers on the field. That was a 75-yard march on which they ran an old Rodriguez staple, the "belly," repeatedly for good yardage.
Belly is designed to attack the soft underbelly of the backside of a defense facing inside zone. The end gets optioned off and then the goal of the defense is to use the backside DT's natural desire to shoot the gap to the playside against him. This usually sees the backside tackle get a free release on a linebacker on a quick-hitting play. (A quick google search indicates that this is Rodriguez-exclusive terminology, so your local guru's verbiage will vary.)
This was tough for Michigan to defend as aligned because the backside DT saw zone action and went GRRAAAH at it, driving himself way out of the play because he's Willie Henry and he is 1) strong and 2) not yet super disciplined. This put linebackers in bad spots, facing free OL while trying to shut down a ton of space.
Here's Morgan in that situation:
It feels like Michigan is a little misaligned here, with the linebacker shaded to one side against a formation that has no TE.
On the snap Beyer is let go and must respect the keep, so he flows upfield. Henry will get his own momentum used against him and get way out of the play, which I have designated by putting a frown at the end of his line. Morgan has an OT coming at him and a problem.
Beyer plays the mesh point well, inducing a give but forming up near the LOS so he can respond to a handoff. Henry is about to leave.
Here is the the key thing for Morgan on this play: he takes the contact. He in fact initiates the contact despite not having much forward momentum (which it is hard to get on a quick hitting play like belly). He impacts the OL and rocks him back:
Note that the guy next to him is Henry, who is trying to fight back to the play by giving ground. Also note that if Henry was anywhere near where the line would like him to be, Beyer is tackling as people wall up.
The back actually bounces off the OL…
And then a bunch of guys tackle him after six yards.
This is not a good result and I think Morgan's original alignment had something to do with that. He ends up taking the block to the inside instead of square and that gives the back room to the outside when otherwise this could have been a third down coming up. But: tough job in a lot of space. I gave him a half point for slowing down what could otherwise have been bad.
[After the JUMP: Jake Ryan tries his hand.]