Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
|1||10||O28||Run||0||Draw. Weird call for the first play of the game. Graham(+1) slices in to make the tackle as it's slow developing.|
|2||10||O28||Run||15||Biggs(-1) and Graham(-1) get blocked and lose contain. Scooting downfield occurs.|
|1||10||O43||Run||7||Again Graham(-1) gets caught inside and Hall can't come up to take away the corner. Contain rears its ugly head again.|
|1||10||M47||Run||2||This is crammed up pretty well inside and when he tries to bounce Burgess is there for the stop.|
|2||8||M45||Pass||7||Despite the completion this is great coverage by Mason(+2), who picks this ball off half the time.|
|3||1||M38||Run||1||Watson in. They run away from him. Massey(+1) and Woodley(+1) hold and push really nicely and this is just a good play by Calhoun to squeak out the first down. A better tackle from Barringer(-1) stops this conversion.|
|1||10||M37||Pass||Sack, -13||Woodley(+3) owns the tackle, makes the sack, and forces an obvious fumble that the referees fail to call.|
|2||23||50||Pass||Inc||Screen is thrown over the head of Calhoun. Would very probably have gone for very few yards if caught, as Mason and Hall were there.|
|3||23||50||Pass||Inc||Stocco gets decent time but a blitzer that I think is Brandon Harrison(+1) penetrates and forces the incompletion.|
|Drive notes: Woodley sack singlehandedly ends this drive. Really distressing lack of contain here. That line with Biggs and Massey lined up on one side is like a giant sign that says run here. Brandon Harrison appears to be two or three weeks away from starting at FS the way he's going.|
|2||9||O2||Run||6||Line is Branch-Watson-Massey-Woodley here, they run between Woodley and Massey after a cut he has to make at the line. Massey(-1) just sort of falls down at the snap. He's walking a fine line between being too high and falling over every snap... 6'8, you now.|
|3||3||O8||Run||2||David Harris(+1) shows up in the hole at the line of scrimmage largely because the blocker was forced to take on Engelmon(+1), and cuts it back where a host of Wolverines are waiting.|
|Drive notes: 1 min left in the first, 0-0. 3 and out here, can't ask for anything more. A 58 yard punt and a bad-as-in-dumb holding penalty screw up the field position, though. First glimpse of the Branch at DE thing.|
|1||10||O11||Pass||Inc||Hall(+2) comes in and makes the breakup. Stocco didn't even stare him down, though he didn't exactly rifle it out there.|
|2||10||O11||Penalty||5||Offsides on Rondell Biggs(-1), but Branch(+2) made a TFL on the actual play.|
|2||5||O16||Pass||Sack, -10||Burgess(+1) and Engelmon(+1). Burgess leaps in Stoccos face, causing him to stop his throw and then Engelmon cleans up. Even if the blitzers weren't effective, Branch(+1) was held.|
|3||15||O6||Run||11||Whatever, we concede the 11 in pass coverage.|
|Drive notes: 12 min 2nd q, 0-0. Branch with two plays here and there's more coming.|
|1||10||O28||Run||0||Branch(+1) and Woodley(+1) both hold at the point of attack and collapse into the hole as Calhoun passes. Then they go WOOO like they're Ric Flair.|
|2||10||O28||Pass||3||Dumpoff to Calhoun rather quickly after Branch(+1) (guess who?) gets a great interior pass rush.|
|3||7||O31||Pass||Inc||Stocco missed Daniels badly, but an accurate throw is still not a first down. Branch drops 10 yards downfield on the zone blitz.|
|Drive Notes: 8 min 2nd Q, 3-0. Branch is everywhere. He got a drop on his pass rush comparable to a linebacker. At this point the defense is dominating.|
|1||10||O26||Run||0||Burgess(+1) holds the corner and when Calhoun cuts it back it's into a few Michigan defenders, most notably Harris.|
|2||10||O26||Pass||Inc||Stocco throws a ground ball to Daniels. Massey got good push up front, though I wouldn't call it a hurry.|
|3||10||O26||Pass||12||Three man line and one blitzer comes... Brandon Harrison? Yep. Stocco finds an open guy after the blitzer is picked up.|
|1||10||O38||Run||4||Sweep outside and Michigan's just outnumbered. Wisconsin is in a three wide here and Burgess is spread out to the slot receiver, leaving just six in the box.|
|2||6||O42||Pass||8||No one picks Calhoun up coming out of the backfield--a zone. Don't know who to blame.|
|1||10||50||Pass||15||No pass rush and Stocco has time to find Daniels. Both safeties are in pursuit. Obviously the line expected run. They've been flipping the DEs to get Woodley on Urbik on passing downs but on this play Woodley's rushing against Thomas and then it's Biggs on Urbik.|
|1||10||M35||Pass||18||Zone blitz look that rushes four but Stocco doesn't even look to the short side where the zone drop is . Hall(-1) gets sold a bill of goods on White's route.|
|1||10||M17||Pass||Inc||Two blitzers but this could have been a touchdown. Very close to interference here, but Mason just fell down and Williams fell over him.|
|2||10||M17||Pass||Inc||Stocco gets plowed by one of the DTs right as he throws. Black guy who doesn't look like a mountain so probably Branch(+1). I think Barringer(+1) deflects Stocco's pass, which was on target.|
|3||10||M17||Pass||Inc||Another blitz that's picked but, but there's no one open past the first down sticks(Mason(+1) again has excellent coverage, this time on Daniels) so Stocco rolls out and dumps it out of bounds.|
|Drive Notes: FG. 1:17 2nd Q, 10-3. Stocco got big ideas for a bit here in the best stretch of QB play this game sees. None of the blitzes on this drive get to the QB and thus the big chunks of yardage coming off. Mason is playing extremely aggressively; marked contrast to the soft zone stuff he was playing against ND.|
|1||10||O37||Run||5||Again a bounce from the RB. Burgess(-1) foolishly attacked the tackle when he should have sat back and kept better contain.|
|2||5||O42||Run||3||Three yard runs are not easy to comment on.|
|3||2||O45||Pass||7||Four wide here and I hate this soft zone on third and two. Calhoun makes the catch. Make Stocco replicate that last drive to beat you.|
|1||10||M48||Pass||Inc||OOB. Engelmon(+1) shoves him out, otherwise this is a catch.|
|2||10||M48||Run||11||Swearing erupts. Crable(-1) i s actually in on this play as a defensive end, they run right at him.|
|1||10||M37||Run||1||Nice play by Harris(+1) to shoot out to the sideline, beat a block, and force Calhoun inside.|
|2||9||M36||Pass||11||Evil TE screen to Daniels in the middle of the field. It *looks* like a screen to the left, it's got a receiver running an end around, it's confusing as shite, man.|
|1||5||M20||Run||-2||Calhoun falls over but Watson(+1) was in the backfield here, causing the cut that caused the fall.|
|2||7||M22||Pass||-4||Stocco sacked by Branch(+3), who has a beautiful bull rush move and singlehandedly ends this play.|
|3||11||M26||Pass||Inc||Stocco shortarms Orr. The line had pressure coming and Stocco moves to avoid it and throws this awkwardly.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 9 min 3rd Q, 13-6. That TE screen is a badass, brilliant little play that looks like it could be any of three different things. It freezes the outside defenders on one side with the end around, on the other side with the threatened Calhoun screen (that looks almost exactly like a screen because it IS a screen), and opens the middle up. Never seen that before. It's clearly the Wisconsin Secret Weapon this year, because they brought it out when they really needed a play twice.|
|1||10||O29||Run||-1||Burgess(+1) drives the pulling guard backwards and Harris(+1) actually tracks down Calhoun before he can get ot the corner. Harris is legit.|
|2||11||O28||Pass||7||Screen, called at the exact right time as we blitz and the screen is right where the blitzers were. Burgess does well to recover and hold the play to 7.|
|3||4||O35||Pass||Inc||Stocco throws it high. Mason(+1) again in good coverage.|
|Drive Notes: 7 min 3rd Q, 13-6. A huge Breaston return is wiped out by a Charles Stewart block in the back.|
|1||10||O26||Pass||Scramble, 11||Stocco rolls out and finds no one open on the boot so he takes off. Biggs gives chase but is slow.|
|1||10||O37||Run||11||The linebackers all meekly accept blocks but the big issue is Crable(-1) again, who has no idea that Wisconsin's allowed to run on first and ten and has no chance at preventing a big gain. Wisconsin sees Crable, they run at Crable.|
|1||10||O48||Run||3||I can't believe this doesn't end up gaining more yards, as Calhoun gets the corner but some Michigan dudes show up.|
|2||7||M49||Run||-4||Branch(+2) annihilates Daniels and Harris(+1) cleans up the mess.|
|3||11||O47||Pass||14||Very quick screen out to the left rolls for 13. This is entirely on Mason(-2), who is unbelievably moving towards the center of the field when the screen is released instead of slicing past the lumbering OL and up to stop the conversion.|
|1||10||M39||Run||-1||Woodley(+1) holds the point of attack and Watson(+1) leaps over a couple defenders to assist on the tackle.|
|2||11||M40||Pass||Inc||No real rush here and the backup TE has an 8 yard reception which he drops.|
|3||11||M40||Pass||11||Effing middle screen to Daniels. And this time we rush three and still don't stop it.|
|1||10||M29||Run||9||Both Burgess(-1) and Engelmon(-1) whiff on tackles.|
|1||10||M18||Run||11||We have eight in the box against this and lose contain again. Harris(-1) can't keep Calhoun from getting the corner and Engelmon(-1) moves up a bit and gets blocked by the WR. I think he needs to be moving outside here with eight in the box and both middle backers moving up into the inside holes. Crable(-1) comes in way low on Bernstein and just collapses to the ground... he's supposed to be the OLB on that side.|
|1||G||M7||Pass||Inc||Harris(+1) times his blitz really well and hurries Stocco, who throws it away.|
|2||G||M7||Run||-2||Strung out nicely by like everyone.|
|3||G||M9||Pass||Inc||Biggs(+2) gets instant pass rush and forces the throwaway.|
|Drive Notes: FG. 13 min 4th Q, 13-9. Crable's established why he's a backup. Why they keep playing him I'm not entirely sure. Some first chinks in the Engelmon armor.|
|1||10||M12||Run||6||They had this jammed up again... lost contain! This is on Graham(-1).|
|2||4||M6||Run||6||Goddammit! Crable(-2) did it again! He just plunges in towards the nearest blocker like a useless git.Can anyone who knows more than me tell me whether this is actually a run defense strategy?|
|Drive Notes: TD. 11 min 4th Q. 13-16. You see what I do for you?|
|1||10||M36||Penalty||-10||Holding drawn by Branch(+1) I believe.|
|1||20||M46||Pass||Int||Mason(+3) miiight have interfered here, but he jumps the cut, reads the route, and makes a huge interception.|
|Drive Notes: 10 min 4th Q, 13-16. Mason playing out his mind except for the badly misread screen. Ditto Branch. I completely fail to understand the strategies of the OLBs here, who seem to be giving up contain by design as the middle linebackers slide into the middle of the opposing line.|
|1||10||O46||Run||6||Big hole as Watson(-2) gets turned way inside by the center, leaving a gaping gash between him and Branch which Harris can do nothing about.|
|2||4||M48||Run||12||Harris(-1) has GOT to get out to the outside faster when he sees the bounce.|
|1||10||M36||Run||6||They drop Woodley into a zone. We're just getting crushed.|
|2||4||M30||Run||-1||Raiola tries to catch Watson offsides but doesn't and Stocco fumbles the snap.|
|3||5||M31||Penalty||-10||Illegal block on the back when Mason comes up to combat the screen (now he gets it). Carr takes the penalty.|
|3||15||M41||Pass||4||Stocco dumps off underneath the zone.|
|Drive Note: 5 min 4th Q, 20-16. Even though they down the punt at the 3 it's a dumb decision anyway.|
|1||10||O48||Run||2||Strung out well. Woodley(+1) is unblocked at the line for some reason and holds up against the FB unlike Crable.|
|2||8||50||Run||6||Harris(-1) has to read this play earlier and fill the hole. By the time he reacts the pulling guard is already on him and all he can do is wave a hand at Calhoun.|
|3||2||M44||Run||3||I don't know how he makes this. He gets turned inside and it looks like he's dead meat but he squirts up for the first anyway.|
|1||10||M41||Pa ss||9||Play action and there's no pass rush whatsoever. Stocco finds the hole in the zone.|
|2||1||M32||Run||0||Engelmon comes up to the line and isn't blocked, he makes the tackle.|
|3||1||M32||Run||8||Despite Biggs doing a great job on the corner there's no one there on the edge to stop the outside run.|
|1||10||M24||Pass||9||Calhoun takes the dumpoff and scoots upfield.|
|1||G||M5||Pass||Inc||Batted at the line by Watson(+1)|
|1||G||M5||Pass||Inc||Hall(+1) knocks it away.|
|Drive Notes: Argh.|
General opinions on the performance?
We are this close to having a really good defense. The line did a great, great job in this game, getting constant pressure on Stocco and jamming up the interior of the line very well. Mason played out of his mind and the secondary actually looks above average. However, the persistent inability of the linebackers to keep outside containment on running plays has burned us in every game when we weren't playing a glorified high school team. Almost all the rushing yards the defense has given up this year stem directly from one of two situations:
- Michigan is spread in an obvious zone against a three-wide formation. There are only six men in the box.
- A running back feints into an interior hole or just plain heads outside and there is no one to stop him.
Shawn Crable was the worst offender on Saturday, but David Harris, Brandent Engelmon, and Chris Graham were all culpable at some point or another. Graham did almost nothing all day, though it appears that Wisconsin ran to the strong side almost exclusively.
Other than that glaring problem which Calhoun was extremely well suited to exploiting, they did very well.
What about designated Internets whipping boy Pat Massey?
Still mostly neutral. Batted one pass down and got a -1 for a goal line run play that gained six (Wisconsin still went three and out). That was partially because Watson played a lot more. That was partially because Wisconsin was bouncing outside with regularity and rarely tested us with runs up the middle. And that was partially Massey just doing a decent job. He held up. Leave him alone, whydontcha?
Pick a linebacker other than Harris, who at least balanced out his bad plays with good ones. Burgess and Crable were both highly culpable for the defense's late collapse, and Graham was mostly invisible.
Jesus, Alan Branch was a monster, blowing up run plays, getting held twice, and getting a superior pass rush with regularity. He could be our best defensive player right now. And that's despite the fact that Woodley turned in another very good game and is one of the best defensive linemen in recent Michigan history.
Also singled out for special commendation is Grant Mason, who had one bad play on a third down screen but was otherwise great. Mason's interception kept Michigan from going down two scores in the fourth quarter and allowed Michigan to forge into the lead. He was constantly harrassing the Badger passing game and outplayed Leon Hall.
David Harris is tenously here as well, as he made a great number of good plays, but part of me believes that he's at least partially responsible for the containment issues, though I can't be entirely sure.
Roll that beautiful bean table.
|Woodley||7||-||7||A drive-killing sack and a very good job against the run.|
|Woods||-||-||-||Didn't even play I think.|
|Biggs||2||2||0||Did all right but is clearly just servicable.|
|Watson||3||3||0||Might be harsh because of all the bounceouts... rarely went up the middle for a reason, probably.|
|Crable||-||4||-4||Just a total disaster late in the game against the run. Why was he playing at all?|
|Branch||12||-||12||Sweet fancy Moses!|
|Harris||4||3||1||Reading and reacting in the short zone.|
|Mason||7||2||5||Great in coverage all day.|
|Engelmon||3||2||1||Did okay but part of the contain issues..|
|Adams||-||-||-||Didn't see him play.|
|Harrison||2||-||2||Pressing Barringer, I think.|
OMG DREW STANTON.
Well, yeah. The good news is that I think Michigan actually has three solid cornerbacks in Hall, Mason, and Trent and the safeties have at least been competent in pass coverage so far this year. If Branch can even do half of what he did against UW it will help a lot and Michigan's been preparing for the spread all year. He will get his yards and he will put points on the board--he's really that damn good--but I think the major danger for the Michigan defense is freshman running back Javon Ringer, who had almost 200 yards on 13 carries against Illinois. Ringer is a lot like Calhoun, a juky scatback with slashing ability and the speed to get to the corner. If he hadn't blown out his knee last year he would have been a huge recruit and I've been really impressed with him so far this year. Unless we can slow him down or JLS gets loopy and decides that The Pedestrian Jason Teague is the answer for UM, we are going to have to split our attention between Ringer and Stanton and the prospect is too horrible to contemplate.
Don't get your hopes up.
Update: Commenters point out that the deflection at the end of the game was Watson's, not Massey's.
Also: I totally forgot the strategic blunder. Soy muy estupido. Here:
So how about that strategic blunder?
Michigan allowed the worst possible thing to happen to them on Wisconsin's final drive: a touchdown with vanishingly little time on the clock. When the Badgers got the ball back Michigan should gone nuts with aggressive man to man and blitzing to prevent the 8-10 yard plays that Wisconsin got with frequency. They were aggressive up front with eight man fronts but the coverage they played behind it was soft and the corners and safeties were playing far off. When it became clear that Wisconsin was A) going to have more than enough time to do whatev er they want and B) not going to punt, Michigan should have taken its timeouts and told Wisconsin that if they were going to score, they were going to score quickly. First and ten from the 24 was the tipping point, if not sooner. Passively watching Wisconsin drive down the field and getting the ball back with 29 seconds left is a recipe for defeat, and defeat is not Good Eats.
Iiiiiiit's baaaack. Something akin to the horrible, horrible punt formation that lost Michigan the 2003 Iowa game and drove Jim Boccher insane or whatever has made a stunning return to college football, giving me the heebie-jeebies every time I see it. In this new version the three guys lined up in front of the punter "block" people.
That doesn't mean punters like it. The article cited also gives us someone to blame: Wofford coach Mike Ayers.
Still super dreamy. Still Tom Brady.
Do you smell what Leland Anderson is cooking? What? Yeah. Leland Anderson, one of the many transient basketball players that had brief stays at the Brian Ellerbe House Midget Basketball Recovery House [redundancy sic and stolen from David Foster Wallace], is now training to become a wrestler. The whole page is hilarious, but the most hilarious part is the height and weight listing: 6'8", 300 pounds.
If that was true, Anderson--like a 6'4" power forward--wouldn't have had to transfer to Providence after his freshman year. OOOOOHHH YEAH.
The definition of "unenthused" on the left :
That's The Detroit News' Dave Dye in the process of losing a game of NCAA 2006 26-0 (26?) and loving every instant of it. It all comes from this strange News article that's lifted from pretty much every student newspaper in the country: have two staffers play a video game and write about it, though the student clashes are considerably more spirited. (Faint praise, I guess: [INAPPROPRIATE HOLOCAUST REFERENCE] was a national cheerleading competition compared to Dye above.)
Elsewhere, a considerably happier-looking Dye predicts a 38-28 MSU victory. I would do the usual huffy indignation thing but I got nothin'. Nothin', I say.
Recruiting coverage has suffered lately. Let me bring you up to date: Antwine Perez is going to USC and nothing else has happened. It's looking bad for just about everyone. Frowny face. There's this article about VA WR Percy Harvin that focuses heavily on his EMU-attending sister which directly states she wants him at Michigan but also contains this ringing endorsement of the area:
[Lintera] assesses Ypsilanti, on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, as "boring, very, very boring. ... But once those four years are done and I don't have to be here, I want to go somewhere that I really want to go" for grad school.
Two thumbs way up!
ParadigmBlog is it for this go around. Questions follow:
1. We are now 1/3 of the way through the season and things are starting to shake out. With that in mind, who are your picks to win each of the BCS conferences, as well as your choice for an at-large berth from a non-BCS league (none is an option)?
ACC: Well, Virginia Tech is the obvious choice.
Big 12: Texas.
Ohio State Goddammit. Ohio State.
Big East: [SUCK OVERFLOW ERROR]
Pac 10: Arizona State! Yow!
SEC: The only one that's really a tossup at this point. Tennessee now that they won't be starting Ainge.
At-large: No one.
2. What team currently out of the Top 10
(AP or Coach's, doesn't really matter), of the BlogPoll (duh, sheesh) has the best chance of ending up in the title game?
Arizona State. If they beat USC and finish the year 10-1 you're damn right they'll be the top one loss team. Did I mention the 773 yards?
3. When you're watching a game, what type of fan can you absolutely not tolerate being around?
Morons who are too stupid to realize that they are morons.
"Why do we run it? We should throw it more."
[eight yard run.]
[two yard run, first down.]
"Why do we run it? We should throw it more."
These people, the ones who are constantly complaining about every coaching decision like they're a super genius who just knows better, make me desperately search EBay for a Marvin the Martian-esque castration ray. It's for the good of society.
Also those horrid old women who cry "down in front" during TV timeouts and spend the game talking about gardening.
Bonus: A sizable portion of Michigan fandom is in full meltdown mode (myself especially). Some have chosen to sequester themselves for this weekend's game against MSU to avoid scaring children, causing long-term psychological damage to those in the near vicinity, and most especially to avoid jail (I'm not saying this is me per se). Anyways, we need some help. Give us some ideas for replacements for LLLyd Carr (3 L's for the number of losses per year, and no O this year either). Assistant coaches, head coaches elsewhere, etc. Please, give us something to look forward to.
Jeff Tedford. Each passing Lions game during which I think to myself "Tedford turned Joey Harrington into the third pick in the NFL Draft" increases my slavering desire to see him as the next head coach at Michigan. What can you say about a man who dupes NFL scouts making his noodle-armed, panicked, generally retarded quarterbacks instant millionaires every year? There's only one thing to say: "damn." Add in the fact that he is feasible--having grumbled about the conditions at Cal more than once--unlike a Ferentz or a Meyer and he brings instant California recruiting cred for when USC collapses into its next 20 year dormant period and it's a slam dunk.
Totally not it. Totally.
The only disadvantage is that one of us will have to strangle Rece Davis when he calls Michigan "the Tedheads." Onetwothreenotit.
Other persons I've idly speculated over and possibly have caused me to write "[HEART] [HEART] Brian [COACH LAST NAME]" over and over again in my Hello Kitty notebook:
- Ferentz, obviously.
- Nick Saban after a failure at Miami, solely to watch every single Spartan's head explode.
- Dirk Koetter, who actually makes good clock management decisions.
- Glen Mason. Yes, Glen Mason. Does anyone understand how hard it is to win at Minnesota? There's absolutely no talent base, they have to play in the freaking Metrodome, and they've been historically awful for something like 50 years. I want that Denver Broncos "plug random back into slot, rush for 1,500 yards" running game badly.
|1||10||M6||Run||Martin||4||Wonky signal cuts off most of this play.|
|2||6||M10||Run||Martin||27||Lentz annihilates his guy. By the time Martin flies by him he's 6 yards downfield. Martin makes a good read and shows his speed.|
|1||10||M37||Run||Martin||2||There's like nine guys in the box here! The offensive line does a good job blocking but the ninth guy plunges unblocked makes the tackle. Malone or a missed check by Henne?|
|2||8||M39||Pass||Avant||Inc||Four wide and a slant is open but Henne throws it way, way behind Avant.|
|3||8||M39||Pass||No one||Scramble, 21||Three wide and checking off at the line.. Henne takes off smartly and rolls downfield but there's a dumb holding penalty by Massaquoi.|
|3||1||M46||Run||Grady||1||Good second effort here by Grady to get the first, but Henige pulls right and there's a hole there and Grady goes left, failing to following his blocking.|
|1||10||M47||Penalty||-5||Illegal formation because Massaquoi is like two inches too far back to count as a man on the line. Crappy call. The play was a nice slip screen to Manningham for a first.|
|1||15||M42||Pass||Manningham||3||Same play. Massaquoi misses his block.|
|2||12||M45||Run||Martin||3||Seems like everyone does a decent job blocking but there are no creases.|
|3||9||M48||Pass||Ecker||14||This a duck, but it's an accurate duck. Ecker makes a niiice lunging catch.|
|1||10||O38||Run||Grady||3||Grady's pretty tentative when he reaches the line here.|
|2||7||O35||Pass||Avant||Inc||Henne misses a wide open Avant at the 10 yard line.|
|3||7||O35||Pass||No one||Scramble, 8||Okay, it's good he gets the first down on these rushes, but it seems like more evidence he's not totally confident in his arm.|
|1||10||O27||Pass||Avant||21||Avant makes 15 after juking past the DB after a six yard hitch.|
|1||G||O6||Run||Martin||1||Nothing even resembling a hole here.|
|2||G||O5||Pass||Avant||Inc||Henne misses... a wide open Avant. Throw is rifled a couple yards over his head when a deft toss would have been a TD.|
|3||G||O5||Run||Grady||4||A counter draw type thing that springs blockers downfield. I really like this call, and it's only a fantastic tackle by Zalewski that keeps Grady out of the end zone. Grady did slice past two Badger defenders before getting to Zalewski. That tackle... dammit.|
|4||G||O1||Run||Grady||0||As reported elsewhere, there's a pull here that gets fouled up when Lentz trips over Kraus. Still the right call.|
|Drive Notes: 0-0, 2:48 left in the first. Three times Henne misses Avant wide open. Our offensive line is only getting a push sporadically.|
|1||10||M34||Run||Martin||4||Makes the right cut here, but since the OL can't seal anyone he's forced to cut back into the linebackers.|
|2||6||M38||Run||Jackson||-1||Again no push from the OL. There's nowhere to run.Kraus just gets shoved back right at the snap.|
|3||7||M37||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Henne throws it low and Breaston can't make the catch, but it wouldn't have been a first down anyway.|
|Drive Notes: 14 min, 2nd quarter, 0-0. If you're counting, that's four poorly thrown balls and two well thrown, not counting the screens.|
|1||10||M41||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Deep ball to a well-covered Breaston that's overthrown.|
|2||10||M41||Pass||Manningham||24||Out route that's jumped by Bell since Henne stared Manningham down. Still got it there, I guess, but man. Manningham gets his customary YAC... kid is a player.|
|1||10||O35||Run||Martin||7||Thompson with a nice block and there's actually a hole to the outside.|
|2||3||O28||Pass||Avant||4||Three step drop and fire taking advantage of the corners playing off Avant.|
|1||10||O24||Pass||Avant||Inc||Misses... a wide open Avant! This time he's in the endzone.|
|2||10||O24||Run||Grady||3||Paul, on the other hand, does not get a good block that could have sprung Grady to the outside.|
|3||7||O21||Pass||No one||Sack, -11||Henige utterly and completely misses his blitz pickup, as he decides to take a linebacker coming from the outside that Grady's got and lets someone come up through the inside unmolested. Henne intentionally grounds it.|
|Drive Notes: 49 yard field goal? No! 44 yard field goal? Yes! Don't go changing, Rivas. 3-0, 10 min 2nd quarter.|
|1||10||M29||Run||Martin||1||EMU style sweep. Not EMU style results. They've got eight in the box again an then two safeties relatively near the line of scrimmage... I'd scream about throwing, but look up.|
|2||9||M30||Pass||Avant||27||Henne misses... a wide open Ava--oh. That was actually totally accurate after a ton of time. Gottfried starts waxing about how Henne made the play and I attempt to strangle him with telepathy.|
|1||10||O43||Run||Martin||1||Another sweep that fails due to tons of people in the box.|
|2||9||O42||Pass||Grady||7||A little dumpoff designed to get Grady on a LB and he makes a nice play to pick up 5 or so yards after the catch.|
|3||2||O35||Run||Grady||12||A hole does open up this time but it seems accidental. In any case, Grady is not tentative this time and flies up through it and makes 4 or 5 YAC.|
|1||10||O24||Pass||Grady||19||Flare screen Michigan's run several times this year to good effect.|
|1||G||O5||Run||Grady||1||Just a wad of players in the middle.|
|2||G||O4||Pass||Avant||Inc||Henne gets nailed as he releases the ball because NO ONE BLOCKS HAYDEN. Otherwise, TD.|
|3||G||O4||Pass||Avant||4||Touchdown. Slant that is accurate.|
|Drive Notes: 4:27 2nd Q, 10-0. Henne is better on this drive but there's only one downfield throw here, the long one to Avant.|
|1||10||M36||Pass||Grady||5||Screen again, but it's read well by the DT(!) Jason Chapman and thus doesn't go for several more.|
|2||5||M41||Run||Martin||4||This sweep is successful-ish because they aren't loading the box.|
|3||1||M45||Run||Martin||17||Breaston gets a nice block on this four wide draw type thing (Stenavich's block is to shove the pass rush of his man 10 yards upfield) and Martin beats a couple Badgers to the corner.|
|1||10||O38||Run||Grady||2||Strange, strange call here with 30 seconds left in the half and one timeout. Especially because Wisconsin still has seven in the box against a three wide, one back set. Missed check? Gottfried CONTINUES to fluff Henne without cause.|
|2||8||O36||Pass||Manningham||30||What a terrible throw, at least ten to fifteen yards short of its intended destination that Manningham adjusts to. You can see Manningham about to get a yard or two of separaton and then coming back for the ball.|
|2||G||O6||Pass||No one||Inc||Henne throws it away. Why not a fade to Avant here?|
|Drive Notes: FG, End of half, 13-3. Much screaming ensued about the FG call, more on that later. Henne was unbelievably lucky to hit that Manningham pass and given the way Carr was talking to him after the timeout, I think he missed a check on the strange run.|
|1||10||M16||Run||Martin||2||There's just no push or hole or crack up front. Period.|
|2||8||M18||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Play action and Henne gets hurried and misses Mass. He had Mass for 4 or a first down if he could break the LB's tackle.|
|3||8||M18||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant drops it. It should be noted that this pass is behind Avant, though still catchable.|
|Drive Notes: 14 min 3rd quarter 13-3. Note NO shell. Ryan 45 yard punt fair caugt, that's what I'm talking about.|
|1||10||M30||Pass||Avant||Inc||Slant that's way behind Avant again.|
|2||10||M30||Pass||Martin||Inc||The much rumored wheel route down the sideline that's broken up by the safety very nicely. If you're blaming henne for throwing it too late... well, you're harsher than I am. Just a nice play.|
|3||10||M30||Pass||Avant||Inc||Batted at the line.|
|Drive Notes: 8 min 3rd quarter 13-6. No shell.|
|1||10||M8||Penalty||5||Offsides on UW. The play was a 1 yard dive with no push from the OL again.|
|1||5||M13||Run||Grady||2||The safety just comes screaming up on the run. Are we tipping our play action?|
|2||3||M15||Run||Grady||5||Finally some push from the line.|
|1||10||M20||Run||Martin||2||Nothing. Again eight guys in the box.|
|2||8||M22||Pass||Avant||18||A nice jailbreak screen for Avant features Kraus plowing his man like 10 yards downfield.|
|1||10||M40||Run||Martin||5||Sweep. Thompson misses Zalewski or Martin gets the corner and somewhere from 10-20 yards.|
|2||5||M45||Pass||Breaston||0||He catches the little screen thing and slips. Had him in position to run after the catch.|
|3||5||M45||Run||Martin||4||Same counter draw we ran on 3rd and goal from the five on the first drive. It again gets four.|
|Drive Notes: 2 min 3rd quarter 13-6. Ryan shanks the punt and it goes approximately 30 yards downfield. Again an execution thing, Breaston's slip, kills the drive. He probably had the first otherwise.|
|1||10||M8||Pass||Avant||9||Another bad throw that Avant manages to scoop off the turf just in time (after review).|
|Drive Notes: Killer. Just killer. 12 min 4th Q, 13-9. No idea what the personal foul on Henige is for.|
|1||10||M20||Run||Grady||3||Again we try to run against an eight man front.|
|2||7||M22||Pass||Avant||Int||Henne throws it right to the UW linebacker.|
|Drive Notes: Head... veins... losing... integrity.|
|1||10||M39||Run||Grady||6||Off tackle and he finds the crease and follows Thompson into the hole.|
|2||4||M45||Run||Grady||6||Cuts it back and gets moving upfield, 3 more YAC.|
|1||10||O49||Pass||Manningham||49||Flea-flicker touchdown, and credit where it's due: this could not have been thrown more beautifully.|
|Drive Notes: 9 min 4th Q, 20-16.|
|1||10||M3||Run||Grady||3||No hole, no push.|
|2||7||M6||Run||Grady||3||Sweep outside to the short side. I dislike this call.|
|3||4||M9||Pass||No one||Inc||Thrown away, ridiculous. If he had come off the three receivers to his right he had Mass open for the first down.|
|Drive Notes: 4 min 4th Q, 20-16.|
|1||10||M44||Pass||Avant||Inc||Behind Avant and knocked down by the DB.|
|2||10||M44||Penalty||-10||Holding on Stenavich.|
Well? We expect knives re: coaching, buddy.
I just don't see it.
This is what is see:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Bad Read||Throwaways||Batted|
Of the 17 passes I flagged as accurate or catchable (note that two completions were flagged "inaccurate": the 30 yard Manningham bomb at the end of the first half and the reviewed Avant slant), seven were screens or short dumpoffs (IE, 5 yards or less). That means when Henne dropped back to pass and actually threw downfield you got ten good (or just acceptable on some of the "accurate" throws) events and fourteen bad ones if you eliminate the two batted passes ("OMG Navarre" people: only one was actually batted. Another throw that was inaccurate because Henne was hit as he threw was inserted here). Scheme and playcalling this: Henne flat missed open receivers 11 times.
He was terrible, and Michigan knew it, and Wisconsin knew it. However, this did not stop Michigan from trying to throw. Look at the beginning of the second half: f ive passes on six plays on our two three-and-outs. The only drive we pieced together came when we stopped trying to throw downfield.
There's other blame to go around: the offensive line was consistently stonewalled by Wisconsin's defensive front. Martin's fumble was an absolute killer. Breaston had a big return wiped out by a Charles Stewart penalty. Manningham dropped a TD. Avant dropped a first down. Henige blew a blitz pickup. But these were isolated events that the offense could have survived if the quarterback wasn't forcing the rest of the offense to play perfectly.
THEY KICKED A FIELD GOAL ON THIRD DOWN.
All right, yes, that was dumb and the explanation proffered on Michigan Replay (Carr did not know the clock was going to be reset from six seconds to nine seconds) further highlights the fact that Carr isn't the sharpest tool in the game theory drawer, but third and goal from the eleven is probably going to be a throwaway anyway in that situation and the end result would have either been the same or an LSU-like screwup that cost us the field goal. A smidgen of expectation was given away but it's not a big deal.
There was a major strategic blunder in this game, but it was on the defensive side of the ball.
#1, #2, #3: Henne. Simply put, if he makes any one of six to eight relatively easy throws we probably win this game.
Also on my bad list are Lentz, Kraus and Henige, who could not get any push up front all night. Henige also contributed a key sack and a key incompletion by deciding not to block people.
Max Martin's fumble... well, fumbles happen, yes. But that turnover is the difference in the game.
Avant, despite the one drop. That's a tougher catch than he'll admit--thrown behind him and a rocket--and the rest of the night he was great. He would have had an even bigger night if Henne had hit him more often. Manningham was also very good when called upon, and the tackles didn't allow any pass rush really.
All right, yes. Gutierrez has to be an option against State if Henne struggles in the first half. We don't have time to screw around with Drew Stanton and company: we need points and we can't abide missing wide open guys. If Henne turns in another stinker and Gutz does not play white knight, I guarantee you can stop by for some good old fashioned Internets Bitching.
So what does this mean for Michigan State?
It means bad. We can't expect a consistent running game against the Spartans since Domata Peko seems to have emerged as a solid DT and our interior OL is soft like kitten. To move the ball consistently we absolutely require consistent quarterback play that Henne has shown no indication he is capable of this year, but he still has to start given his history and talent. We need him to turn it around right goddamn now or we are D-E-D dead.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Big winner this week is Michigan State again. Funny that a point-a-minute win over lowly Illinois would cause pollsters to rocket the Spartans from #17 to #9, but given how the program historically hates success, I can see it. Minnesota (#16 from unranked), Wisconsin (#17 from unranked), and their crushing ground games make impressive BlogPoll debuts as well. Add in the fact that Michigan State also has a crushing ground game and that Michigan couldn't convert fourth and goal from the one and yes, this is essentially the most depressing paragraph ever for me.
Big losers are Michigan (gone), Louisville (hanging on by the skin of their teeth at #25), Georgia Tech, and Purdue.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Cal's deviation is falling as doubters like me run out of teams to put in front of them and have to put them in the poll, but they're still #1. The two Big Ten debutants are also high up there.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is... Warren St. John? Is this a publicity stunt? Er, upon looking at the ballot, probably not so much. WSJ's main fobiles are a staunch disbelief in Ohio State (my man!), who languish at #15 in his ballot, and LSU, who check it at #20. There's also the matter of Minnesota at #8, beloved 'Bama at #9, and Wisconsin at #11. WSJ is apparently a sucker for an authoritative ground game.
Mr. Numb Existence is the other Authorita-dispensing heavyweight currently deigning to vote, Football Outsiders. As you might expect, FO's ballot is really close to the poll at large.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award has a new home after CU's disappointing loss to Miami: Penn State blogger 50 Yard Lion. It's hard to get on a guy with PSU at #19 given that they're 4-0 and the bottom of the poll is getting really creaky these days, but I saw that NW game... I'd enjoy it while I can. (Not that I have any business talking about how weak anyone's team looks.)
The Straight Bangin' Award can only go to teams that people vote for in quantity, so Straight Bangin' didn't win it this week and probably won't win it until next year's preseason poll. Instead, Georgia blogger Kyle On Football's dawg skepticism nets him the award. Also to be noted is that it's "opposite week" at the BlogPoll: the Enlightened Spartan is now underrating his team relative to the poll at large. Cats and dogs sleeping together! Mass hysteria!
Swing is essentially the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic-Depressive is Badger blogger Bruce Ciskie, probably due in no small part to an oversight from last week when he didn't include MSU at all. This week they're #11, a meteoric rise that's paralleled the BlogPoll's. Also showing up for the first time is Alabama. Bruce also severely overrated Louisville and (sigh) Michigan, so he had to hammer them 17 spots each when they lost.
Mr. Stubborn is... uh... probably not actionBERG, since his ballot shows way more wiggle than the 16 total spots the algorithm calculated. Something's broken here. Sorry kids.
Comments welcomed, as always.
|1||Southern Cal||Stiffest test of the year upcoming against throwing fools Arizona State.|
|3||Virginia Tech||Holy crap.|
|4||Florida||Functional DNP vs. UK.|
|5||Arizona State||Another week, another 365 yards for Sam Keller. Clayton Richard is a pitcher. Cruel God strikes again.|
|6||Ohio State||The moral of this year so far is...|
|7||Michigan State||... Christ, did I pick the wrong year to start a blog.|
|9||Tennessee||Do you think Fulmer will tell people Ainge starts this week just to screw with their heads? I would.|
|10||Georgia||Another rather meh performance against a team that should be crushdefied.|
|11||Alabama||Welcome to the section of the poll titled "largely benefited from the carnage around them."|
|12||Miami||And team two.|
|13||LSU||Yeah... Les Miles is no longer on my "desirable Carr successor" list.|
|14||Minnesota||Let it be known that the Gopher ground game is the country's best. This might be the for real year.|
|15||Notre Dame||Did you know Tyrone Willingham was black? Strange but true.|
|16||Boston College||Gutty win. QB situation heading towards dire.|
|17||UCLA||Keep moving those goalposts, Bruins Nation.|
|18||Iowa State||Serious fraud potential here: the Iowa win now looks not-so-thrilling and a game that was undecided until the final possession against Army?|
|19||Purdue||Irrational Boiler love continues. Must be engineering solidarity or something.|
|20||Georgia Tech||Yes, they got nuked but they've still got an impressive resume.|
|21||Cal||Goddammit, I've got no choice but to rank you at this point.|
|22||Texas A&M||DNP... er, Functional DNP against Texas State. Chance of blowout 90%... 95%... 99%... what, wrong show?|
|23||Texas Tech||You still haven't played anyone.|
|25||Virginia||I've nobody left to rank.|
Dropped Out: Louisville(#7), Michigan(#14), NC State(#15), Clemson(#24)
Games I Saw: Michigan-UW, Army-Iowa State, Purdue-Minnesota, large parts of NW-Penn State, large parts of ND-UW, UT-LSU, small parts of UK-UF.
Update: Moved UT from 12 to 9 after someone pointed out that it wasn't a particularly good idea to knock them for a win at LSU even if they did suxor in the first half. (And yes, I still think Purdue is good.)
When my DVRed episode of South Park finished and returned to live TV yesterday, I found myself staring down the unholy maw of ESPN Hollywood. The very beast! It was everything you expected. OMG FUNKY CAMERA ANGLES(!), your standard "we're ripping off Entertainment Tonight" music, and a fluff rating so high cotton candy wouldn't be caught dead with it. I actually found it somewhat funny--though in the same sense I found Henne's self-sacking on the final play of the Wisconsing game funny--that anyone thought ESPN Hollywood was a good idea. Hell, even Pure Evil Marketing People (PEMP? Sounds like a new official acronym... the PEMP juice possibilities are multitude) think ESPN Hollywood is freakin' stupid.
And that's not even the most hilariously strange idea ESPN's had recently. No, that crown goes to "Classic NOW, " which is a "fast-paced, news- and dialogue-driven primetime series [that] will look at current sports events, examining their relevance and putting them in historic perspective." Because that's exactly what ESPN Classic needs: a news show.
(HT: Off Wing Opinion)
I wish I had written... "The Unfortunate Geometry of Chance" over at DC United blog the DCenters. United just had a 3-1 aggregate lead at the forty minute mark of the second leg of an important cup match against a heavily favored South American team. Since the first leg ended 1-1 and DC had scored twice away already, they would win the away-goals first tiebreaker. The only way they could lose would be to concede three in the second half, an epic collapse for any soccer team.
This happened. The DCenters is not pleased, and he wrapped all my thoughts on cursed (accent that e, bitches!) randomness into a lovely post anyone who buys my thinking at all should read.
You're paying for that. Official mgoblog whipping boy Terry Foster has broken my irony meter:
Why Do We Listen to Beno Cook?
Sorry guys. I don't get why Beno Cook matters any more.
He bumbles and stumbles and makes predictions that never come true. Yet ESPN and everybody else parades him around as if he matters.
I say enough of Beno. He's had his moment in the sun.
Hey, at least I get Foster's name right.
I can't get enough of this stuff that DaveSez and his collaborator post on a semi-regular basis. This one's about zone blocking and is totally rad.
Ballots and comments re: ballots go here.
I didn't want to say it because I love the guy, but since Jason Avant said it himself, I'll talk about it:
"I lost the game on third-and-(8)," Avant said after Michigan's 23-20 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night in its Big Ten opener. "I dropped the ball. ... That was the biggest play of the game, and I dropped it."
He's at least partially right. The three-and-out followed by the long UW field goal drive was a key turning point in the game. But it wasn't all on Avant. Vijay's pointed out something that I think is very enlightening: the way Carr coaches leaves no room for error. The 1st and 10, 2nd and 6, 3rd and 3 (or eight) style means that you have to execute 10, 12, 15 plays successfully to score. When Carr's forced out of that and has to score relatively quickly, it often happens. The margin for the offense in this game was even more razor-thin because of Henne's inaccuracy and the inability of the line to push the UW DL off the ball on short yardage. Thus no points in the second half except off the flea-flicker. Thus 260+ yards of offense in the first half and only 13 points to show for it. Thus kittens with high-powered sniper rifles.
IBFC weighs in with some stuff a little more off the cuff than his usual "this is the final word on the subject and I win because I am awesome" posts, so I can disagree some without being obviously wrong. Read his first and then return to this response, point by point.
- Forget whether he misses Braylon Edwards or not, he is just simply playing significantly worse football than last year. Yes, amen. The receivers are open and Henne just isn't hitting them. There is the occasional dropped ball, but there was the occasional dropped ball with Braylon, too.
- I suspect that we grossly overrated our offensive line. And that's what Tom thought, too. He appears to be right. We've got two 5th year senior guards and a fifth year senior tackle who have crushed the MAC opponents on their schedule but have only been sporadically effective in the run game. I was astounded to find that Martin had like 91 yards on 18 carries, because it certainly didn't seem like that.
- The return of a favorite Michigan script. Okay, agreement here. Where's the beef?
- ...we are learning what a complete and total fraud the entire off-season Terry Malone hype campaign was. Okay. I haven't gone over the tape for Wisconsin yet, but I don't think this is necessarily the truth. People are always complaining about the playcalling in every loss and usually the wins that don't include 30+ points, but at some point you just have to step back and say that perhaps Malone is doing the best he can with a limited set of tools. Down Mike Hart and Jake Long and with an erratic-at-best Henne, all Malone can do is call something and pray. When Avant drops a key third down pass... well, what can you say? He was open, the throw was there, and the man with the most reliable hands in the universe drops the ball. That seems like the summary of the year to me: a good script ruined by Joel Schumacher (OMG BAT NIPPLES). Eventually that's on the coaches, but I'm still in Malone's corner for the moment.
- someone watch our punt returns and explain to me what Hood and Stewart are doing? Hell if I know. It's ridiculous. We never double the gunners and we don't attempt to block punts. We set up neither the block nor the return, and unless the punter launches a 55 yard bomb, Breaston is catching the ball with someone in his face instantaneously. It's inexplicable and maddening.
This is what we call "zeitgeist": No longer are people finding the site by searching for "SHIREEN SASKI NUDE"; no, now it's "lloyd carr michigan football fire." I miss the days of lustful college hockey fans.
Press conference contains news, film at eleven:
- On Jeremy Van Alstyne and Mike Kolodziej's injuries: "I don't expect either one of them back this week. I want to make this clear. Jeremy, the reason he didn't play ... is he's fought a hamstring injury all fall. It had nothing to do with his effort. That wasn't part of his deal. Mike Kolodziej, there are some tests being taken, and we just have to wait and hope things will work out so he can come back."
- On Doug Dutch's health: "He's back and ready to go."
- On whether he expects Zoltan Mesko to redshirt: "Yes."
- On Jake Long's status: "Day to day. He's more than day to day, but he's working at it." [I've actually got a source on this one: he's still on crutches, so I wouldn't expect him any time soon. He's not "day to day." Also the source reports that Long and Kolodziej are A) very large, B) sweet and deferential, and C) Have strange athletic department people drop by every day to make sure they're in class. -ed]
I love the new Harris poll because it makes the BlogPoll look really good in comparison. The inaugural edition features votes for Illinois (who lost to MSU by like 80 billion), Bowling Green (who lost to Boise State by like 80 billion), Syracuse (Syracuse?) and Idaho (IDAHO?!?!?!) MDG has all your indignation needs met over at his blog:
Who ever voted for Idaho, should have his dick removed.
Another indication of failure: Michigan is still in it, at #25. The AP had the good sense to boot us.
Dear SI On Campus "Link Master": Love the page. It's wonderful, etc. One thing: your "THREE BLOGS YOU MUST READ(!!!)" links are not permalinks. Since you're just linking to the front page of a blog, often people click it and get whatever the latest bullshit about kittens is instead of what you actually linked to. Just a helpful critique.
In BlogPoll News... We've added a pair of bloggers that cover teams previously unrepresented: Around The Oval is a tOSU blog and Golden Tornado is a Georgia Tech blog. Welcome, gentlemen, just don't vote for Idaho.
Also! Congratulations are in order for the fine lads of Football Outsiders, who have been hired by FOX to work their statistical mojination in the big time. Aye, 'tis well deserved. (HYYYAARRR!)
Henceforth and herewith, let it be known that this is no longer a Michigan sportsblog. It's a happy kitten love blog!
OMG SOOOO CUTE!!!
OMG ON A PIANO! Can't you feel your disappointment and hatred just melting away?
OMG. O. M. G.
No kitten! Bad kitt--... good kitten. Good kitten KILL THEM ALL KITT--