If it is so cut and dry then why has their defense been so dominant this season? That seems like an easy gameplan to implement.
Meram is scoring some sweet-ass goals of late
If it is so cut and dry then why has their defense been so dominant this season? That seems like an easy gameplan to implement.
I think this game comes down to who can run the ball better......as most of the games between these two teams, the team that runs the ball better wins 9 out of 10 times. This doesn't bode well for us, having an inexperienced and young O-Line who has struggled to create holes for the running backs. MSU is the #1 Defense in the country giving up 58.6 rushing yards per game. Devin will probably have to run the ball a lot in this game.
I think this game is the one time out of ten where rushing yards are not decisive. I don't think either team is going to fnd much success running the ball. I agree with everyone who says that turnover margin is probably going to be the key to victory, with third-down conversion % also being very significant.
My general impression is that Sparty is going to stack the box, blitz Gardner like hell to try and rattle him, and dare him to beat them with his arm. I think the coaching staff looks at this game and will try to go very conservative to minimize turnovers and giving MSU's offense a short field.
If we had a Wisconsin/Bama-esque O-Line, a conservative game plan wouldn't bother me. But unfortunately, we don't. And I feel like a conservative game plan plays right into MSU's hands. I guess all I can say is thankfully we have two weeks to get ready for this game.
On hopes the gameplan is "score more points than MSU". MSU will be a slog, and things that worked against IU will not do so against the Spartans. I don't foresee him asking Gardner to throw downfield as much, but Funchess and Gallon will be the best two WRs MSU has seen all year, and this remains a defensive unit that can struggle if the referees are calling PIs and all of the tugging guys like Dennard do throughout the game. If the defense is allowed to play the rough style we've seen in the past, though, I suspect UM will play a conservative offensive style much like last year, as MSU's offense is still pretty much a tire fire with occassional bouts of competency. Limit those and I suspect UM will win.
Conservative offensive gameplan and hope that the defense can hold them? Sounds like we'll be playing the exact game that MSU plays if that is done. That sounds like a recipe for disaster for this team seeing as how that is the antithesis of this team's identity.
It worked last year. Not saying it is any sort of guarantee this year, bit it wasn't a recipe for disaster then and might not be now.
I would like to see the shotgun, read option and short passing because I believe it is our best chance to move the ball and score, but Hoke makes a gameplan with both sides of the ball in mind. He let Borges air it out more against Indiana because he knew we would need to score to keep pace. If he believes MSU can't score against our Defense, he will probably go very conservative on Offense to avoid turnovers. It will likely be a very frustrating game to watch.
I doubt Borges just independently comes up with the game plan with no input from Hoke or conversations with the defensive staff. I'm guessing part of the reason for the wide open attack against IU is because the coaching staff knew the odds of it being a 24-14 game were very low. In all likelihood they knew they were going to need to score some points.
I'd bet that Mattison/Hoke and defensive staff probably feel pretty good about the defense's ability to keep MSU's offense in check. With a QB that has been prone to turnovers, I'm guessing we're going to see a more conservative approach on offense. I'd like to think the coaches realize that based upon the results so far this year, the chances of UM getting a lot of production from the rb's on the ground isn't very good. Hopefully, we aren't going to see Fitz consistently getting blown up in the backfield, but I doubt we're going to see the wide open offense that we saw against IU.
Most of you guys are crediting Borges with the intelligence of an ashtray. Power running didn't work at all against Penn State. It barely worked against Indiana's non-defense. Why do any of you think he would think it would work against MSU, who has arguably the best run defense in the nation? If they stack the box, any handoff is just a waste of a down.
I could see us running a conservative game plan, but it would be a sane conservative plan such as: run the scoring offense with handoffs only as a constraint play, but have Gardner scramble or throw it away instead of throwing into coverage.
...and i will predict a michigan win this time, too, but it's pretty easy to imagine our offensive coordinator looking at that defense and deciding to do whatever it takes to eliminate any and all risks...so i don't expect us to do much more than the usual conservative game plan. especially on the road, where...uh...we haven't pulled out too many stops during his tenure.
Light on fire the couch the OL is sitting on!
I'd love to see a lot downfield passing that we saw versus Indiana. Problem is, MSU is going to blitz and blitz and blitz, and Gardner isn't going to have as much time to complete those double-move passes to Gallon.
One of the things that I'd love to see (but most likely won't) is when Borges calls power runs (which I think should be very few vs. MSU) run them up tempo. Come to the line, run power, quickly back to the line, run power, quickly back to the line run power -- don't give the defense time to set up. Then, right when their tongues are hanging out, and they're selling out on your up tempo power run, hit them with a nice little play pass or QB boot run/pass option.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Borges will, despite all of his doubters in here, come out with something well conceived to stop MSU's psycho defense. I am looking forward to it!
Are you arriving at this conclusion because of last week, his larger body of work, or simply hope?! To date, I have not seen Borges create a competent game plan against a rival on the road. I am grasping at straws to have a positive attitude about him in this game.
I am arriving at this conclusion for several reasons. First, he's going to have a full week of practice to implement something different. Second, he just called a game (even if against IU) in which he "opened it up" and had record setting success. Lastly, Borges knows that MSU's defense is not only good and uber aggressive, but is especially jacked up against Michigan. He knows that running the ball up the middle, at least from under center, just isn't going to work. Unless, he comes out and does the classic "break tendency" scheme.
Breaking tendency, however, requires execution. If Devin & Co. can execute early, get MSU's defense wondering, Michigan should win. I think Borges knows he cannot line up against MSU and go toe-to-toe with them, so he won't try.
I'll vote for the opposite. This line is not one they should be hurried. They have a hard time blocking the right guy as it is. Your idea is OK in a general sense, but not with this M team. Gotta put your players in position to succeed, remember?
and I am still not convinced that Borges/Hoke will be able to gameplan well enough to beat Ohio or even Sparty. I hope I am wrong, but we will see.
Borges/Hoke have done pretty badly on the road. Now, this time they have two weeks, if they still cannot get the job done, i am not surprised that Borgers is asked to leave by DB.
Hoke has been unable to win a big road game. IMO, this is the biggest game of Hoke's tenure.
Just because Al Borges comes up with a proper gameplan against a terrible defense doesn't mean he gets my confidence or the benefit of the doubt. He's shit the bed in far too many big games for me to have any confidence that he'll show up with a prepared offense for one of the nation's best defenses. I hope he proves me wrong.
What about the big games where he did NOT shit the bed? It's seems that people that have the least confidence in Borges have a selective memory and never give him credit for his successes. Not very fair to me.
because I don't seem to remember any.
UTL2? People were lauding him, and worried that Devin was going to the NFL? Remember?
I don't think it's necessarily selective memory here. We have had very limited offensive success on the road against half-way decent team with our current coaching staff. Notice all the awesome game Borges called were at home (and Bowl game last year, which I was overall happy with the offense). This is what makes me nervous about the next MSU game. I sincerely hope that Borges will prove me wrong.
I liked our plan at MSU in 2011. It was basically exactly what everyone is calling for this year. I thought we had a chance to beat undefeated Ohio in Columbus last season, which a bed-shitting game plan would not have been able to do. I even liked the plan against ND last year. We all want aggression now; last year he was passing it all over the field in South Bend. And we all hate conservatism; hows a HB pass for you? Borges didn't turn it over 5 times, our QB did.
Its funny that Borges has been skewered for being too aggressive (MSU 2011, ND 2012) AND too conservative (Ohio 2012, PSU 2013). What does he have to do?
State is not going to do anything differently than they have been on defense. They'll play cover four, frequently use the double-A-gap blitzes, and use press coverage.
Their defense is not unpredictable; it is simple, it is smart, it is well-executed. We have to win some match-ups to score points:
Basically, we have to win our match-ups with their very good secondary, keep their very good D-Line and LBs out of backfield, and have Butt, Chesson, Dileo (if healthy), Norfleet, or someone step up. All of these things are really hard to do.
- Change up the snap count. (noted in thread)
- Limit QB runs (cheap shots)
- Get play call in sooner (hot read/audible)
- Gameplan as if UM is down 10-14 points (1.5 int / .5fumble) to start game.
But it has to have more bubble screen play/ short pass play when they stack the box. Those long-time developed play action play will result in SACK, SACK and SACK! and should not be used that frequently.
Agreed. Some short screens and slants would be good to see. The long developing PA will lead to Gardner scrambling backwards.
IMO, Fitz is the team's best runner. But like anyone else, he needs at least a little bit of space in which to operate. Therefore, I would like to see a few swing passes to him, kind of like the one in the ND game. Bottom line: get Fitz in position to succeed, and get the ball in his hands.
Also, as noted above, Gallon and Funchess will likely get lots of attention, so could this be the game in which Chesson breaks out? I love his special teams play, but there is tons more potential with this kid we haven't seen yet. Secret weapon - we need one.
Edited to add: if not (or maybe in addition to) Chesson, how great would it be to see Jake Butt hopefully having a break out game as the new "secret weapon"?
I really hope Dileo is healthy. He will be needed.
This is not a spread team no matter how much you all want it to be. We do not have coaches for that and we actually play defense. Part of that is by keeping the other team off the field. This is not fantasy football and no points are given for most yards, most plays or the speed they are ran. The model is get more talent keep the other team on the side line and beat them doing what you do. Boring, maybe, but I would rather be bored winning than flashy and lose.
We only score points out of the shot gun and although it's not really the read option as much as Gardner running when the pocket collapses , we look much more like a spread team than a man ball team. Sorry.
but you're ignornig reality. If winning is really what you want than you should be hoping for more play out of the gun and less under center because this staff (and this team) has shown that they perform much better when playing out of the gun and not under center. You sound a lot like what I imagine AB sounds like except he says "I'd rather lose while running my offense than win while running something else." That is the impresion I had prior to the Indiana game, though at least now I have hope.
My point is, as a fan you should be happy with your team winning whether they are doing it the way you want them to or not. If that's the case, then you desire to see them run a "boring" gameplan isn't going to yeild the results you want (if history is any indication).
Not sure why all the downvotes - seems like a legitimate question to me. And as somebody said over the weekend (sorry cant remember who but it wasnt me) "Michigan's offense seems like it's under House Arrest and isnt allowed to leave home".
That was brilliant IMO.
Maybe the tether has a radius that exceeds the grasp of Ann Arbor and extends to East Lansing. I'll get the techs to do some toggling to make this happen. Legs need to be stretched afterall.
I am hopeful about all you said, but I am a little hesitant in believing that Al and Co "know they won't be able to run the ball up the middle". I am not sure they "know" this and am willing to bet they try. Hopefully they don't try 30 times like they have in the past.
iPhone mess up, the above post was a reply to someone below.
Didn't Indiana score their first TD against State on a run up the middle? I'm not saying we should do it all the time, but, it definitely needs to stay in the playbook, just not always on first down or third and short.
It seems to me that IU's running game works because it's such a surprise. They spread you out, sling it around, and then right when you adjust, they hit you up the middle. Not saying it's not a feather in IU's cap in scoring a rushing TD agaist MSU, but it's not that amazing.
The best way to beat an aggressive, blitzing defense is to run right at them. First of all, blitzes are not great against the run as they can leave open gaps and make for poor fits in the run game. If we could Iso them to death, this would open up the passing game in a huge way, as those DL wouldn't be able to come upfield as fast and the LB would always be looking run fits first.
Unfortunately, I don't see us being able to do that. The next best thing is a short passing game featuring the TEs. Attack them where they aren't, and their LBs aren't in the middle of the field on all of those double A blitzes.
Also, lots of screens and draws. The draws could potentially be very effective if we get a decent passing game early. Fitz is a patient runner, the line can just use MSUs aggressiveness against them by letting them fly upfield.
to see something with Gardner split out wide and Morris at qb if Gardner comes back very healthy from the bye week.
I honestly cannot conceive of one single argument for how this would be a good idea.
Staee's D is super aggressive. Hopefully we have some plays lined up to punish them for it. A few counters, throwback screens, etc... Maybe Norfleet on a reverse. I don't think our usual PA from the I is going to cut it.
I agree 100%!
To add to that, MSU's defense seems to go insane when the play Michigan -- it's like they cannot help themselves and get all kinds of personal fouls. I think Hoke & Co. need to make sure that their guys remain under control, and call a game that utilizes MSU's hyper-aggresive scheme against them. DO NOT play to their hand, and DO NOT get retaliation penalties.
on Sparty including a long rushing TD right up the middle.
MSU attacks the LOS with their lbs. They are quick to read and adjust. Their corners play press coverage and use their hands a lot to disrupt routes and stay close.
Gardner will most likely be throwing into tight windows. He will face a lot of pressure from a series of delayed and double gap blitzes. Bullough will likely be employed as a spy and then shoot gaps on certain pass plays.
Sparty gets good push from its front four which is both tall and quick.
How do you attack an attacking defense? You attack it straight on and on the perimeter with quick-hitting plays. You throw to backs out of the backfield and you use screens and draws to curb line and blitzing pressure. You spread out the defense and go after mismatches.
The best way to beat this team is with an offensive barrage not a defensive struggle. MSU wants a grinder game in which it controls the clock, and pounds your defense with its run game and quick bubble screens, pick routes, slants and crossing patterns. It will go deep on Michigan with Fowler or Kings, because everyone has with certain success.
Michigan needs to dial up its defense, and come with pressure packages that MSU hasn't seen Michigan use much this year. I'd like to see Ryan get more rotation action, but I guess that depends on his health and ability to make himself a disruptive force.
No question, this game is the season for both teams.
Big Al I'm pulling for you. I liked your Indiana game plan. I especially liked the faked pass and then a draw play. That will come in handy for staee. Please give me some slants.
Just win dammit. This is the biggest game of Hoke's tenure.
But my game plan would rely heavily on 12 and 22 personnel - two TE sets. If State is going to attack our A gaps all day, the place to attack them is in the vacated short middle. Get Funchess, Butt, and AJ Williams running short crossing patterns, sticks, slants, and the occasional seam. I think that is our best chance for a consistent passing attack, as their secondary is pretty good and very liable to hold and not get flagged. I'm worried that a lot of the max protect, 2-man routes wont work as well against State because I think their pressures can still get home against our line and their DBs will leave people open many fewer times than Indiana and their ilk.
The bad thing is that this personnel grouping hasn't been conducive to a good running game for us. Sucks. We have to spread to run, but the spread might not be the best way to attack their aggression. I trust we'll have a good plan. I loved the plan in 2011, which was destroyed by inclement weather and poor passing.
I'd like to see them come out swinging, pedal to the metal, and put up 5 touchdowns. Make them keep up with us in a sense (Indiana did this, tried anyway). That MAY help garner some respect from the rest of the country, as a side note, scoring a bunch of points on this defensive juggernaut.
Play ball control when needed but never be afraid to attack and throw the ball on these guys; as good as they may be, they're vulnerable to a good Devin and very good recieving corps. Use Fitz in the passing game too, moresoe than the swing route up the sideline, but screens and circle routes. Rabble rabble "this is what I want to see", aside....Just move the ball and score on these guys.
And then kick em' while they're down (not literally, we'll leave that up to them).