This is about the 13th game in a row where bubble screens have been open and we haven't thrown it.
You're a little late to the party.
This is about the 13th game in a row where bubble screens have been open and we haven't thrown it.
You're a little late to the party.
As a quasi-expert, what is your opinion on the bubble screen vs. the tunnel screen? As a layperson, it seems to me that the tunnel is drastically more complicated for an offense to execute than the bubble. If so, why go through all that work when you can just throw the ball to the WR and let him run? In other words, how can a coach not like the bubble but run the tunnel?
The bubble screen is more useful against a team like VT, who is overplaying the run by packing guys into the box and not covering the slot receivers head-up. The tunnel screen is more useful in passing situations where the defense is backed off a little, because it depends on the ability to clear space right in front of the OL, but if the offense can establish that space it can be highly successful because unlike the bubble it lets the OL block for the receiver.
I see the bubble screen as more of a quick-hitting constraint play, designed to prevent the defense from overplaying the run and pick up 5-10 yards. The bubble can be run 8-10 times a game, depending on how the defense lines up, and can be an easy "check" play when a run has been called in the huddle. The tunnel screen is more of a hit-or-miss play, because it depends on the defense either blitzing or allowing space near the LOS. Since one observant DL or LB can destroy a tunnel screen, an offense probably can't (successfully) run the tunnel more than 2-4 times per game, but the tunnel has a better chance of picking up 10-15 yards in a long-yardage situation.
I hate the bubble screen, it's an extremely weak offensive play. It is ok if it is us on offense but that is how we lost to Toledo. Undefendable bubble screen pass after bubble screen.
My personal opinion is that the bubble screen is superior, especially against a team like Virginia Tech. If I were calling the plays, I would have called it several times. I'm not a big fan of the tunnel screen, at least not the way that Michigan runs it (out of the I-formation, to Gallon every time, etc.). It's essentially a run play and it's hard to stop for a loss. It seems that unless the defensive backs are in press man coverage, the bubble should get 4-5 yards almost every time.
I'm not sure why Michigan doesn't run it. Maybe Borges/Hoke have had bad experiences. Maybe they don't think they have the right guys to run it. Personally, I wasn't impressed with Denard's ability to throw the bubble screen last year, and that might be a reason why they've avoided it. But he hasn't made any throw consistently throughout the year, so it seems strange that they would prevent him from throwing the bubble screen but still allow him to throw fades.
Michigan was having success on the edges when running the ball (jet sweeps, reverses, etc.), and I would have attacked the edge more with the pass, too. But Borges just won a Sugar Bowl and I watched the game sitting on my couch, so what do I know?
If I were calling the plays, I would have called it several times.
This is a bad idea. You don't really call bubble screens, you check into them. If you called it from the huddle and the defense aligned with a man over the slot guy, you would have called a terrible play. This is why RR ran a no-huddle and had his players look to the sideline for the play. He could wait to see how the defense was lined up and check into the bubble accordingly.
Saying that you'd call the bubble essentially ruins what the bubble offers: a quick way to make the defense pay for their alignment by gaining a quick 5. I don't say this to be a dick, because you seem like a decent guy who knows football, but when someone asks you for your quasi-expert opinion, you should take care to not misinform them. That way we don't have too many NEEDZ MOAR BUBBLEZ!!!1!!1!
Also, I think your assessment of our edge running game is off. We didn't have much success at all. The rest of our post is spot on.
Right, but there are plays with the option to throw the bubble. You can run a zone read with the option to throw the bubble. Rodriguez did it, Oregon does it, it happens all over the place.
The majority of Denard's yards came on one scramble/draw up the middle, but other than that, Toussaint, Gallon, Smith, and Odoms gained yards to the outside. Toussaint's 14-yarder was to the outside, Gallon gained 7, and Odoms gained 5. That's 26 out of 56 yards on just three carries when most of the attempts were up the middle.
Plays with the option to throw the bubble is what I'm talking about. You mention zone reads in particular (because people run them with the bubble built in), but it is possible to have a bubble check on every single play. Just have the QB throw up a hand signal to the receiver and throw it. My contention is that these things are checks and not called plays. But to say that someone "call a bubble screen" in the same way that someone can "call an iso" is untrue and potentially confusing to someone who is trying to learn.
As for the edge runs, you're absolutely right. But you leave out the edge runs that didn't work (speed option went for 1, zone reads were generally handed off rather than kept). Just because a few outside runs worked better than the totally shambolic inside game doesn't mean that we were "having success with edge runs".
In my head, calling a play with a bubble screen option = calling a bubble screen. If you don't agree, that's fine.
We ran the ball 30 times, and if my memory's correct, we seemed to be more productive on the outside. We got 26 yards on the three carries I mentioned. I'm not saying all runs to the outside were successful, but the middle was jammed up quite a bit.
We're nit-picking right now and I don't really think it's worth arguing about. I'm gonna move on now.
we might have won by more.
And yet, "next season" might be like "this season", i.e. a damn good one without the aid of one single, solitary bubble screen.
Borges hates bubbles. That's a fact.
has to be something schematic about the bubble screen that Borges does not like that is way over my pay grade. Based on his interviews and pressers, my guess is that he thinks it is lazy and more "taking what the defense gives you" instead of making the defense take what you want them to. His absolute distain for the bubble screen makes me believe he is setting up to run a really true pro-style offense, similar to SC under Carroll with Leinart, complete with frequent seven steps drops, heavy reliance on conventional screens, and not a whole lot of lateral action to gain "gimme" type yardage. It is a lofty but admirable goal.
I sincerely hope that's not the case, that Borges has an ideological contempt for the bubble screen. Those are the types of easy passes that we ran last year to get Denard into a rhythm and they are effective when executed properly with downfield blocking and if there's a cushion. On top of that, if they're run on early downs, we are less likely to be in a 3rd and long situation. I really hope our coaches are practical enough to take what the defense gives us, depite it being "lazy" or "gimme yardage". If he were so against the bubble screen, we may as well say screw the slot receiver and run with a TE and fullback.
not saying I am necessarily happy with my conclusion. I just have to believe that if we were going to see it we would have already. Al does do some things to work on soft edges, the jet sweep theoretically does the same thing as a bubble screen or is intended to. Perhaps he is that concerned with Denard's accuracy that he does not want to mess with any throws behind the line of scrimmage. That could be a possibility.
And I don't think it is an ideological thing w/ Borges. We have run WR screens this year. It's just a certain variety of the screen pass in certain circumstances that it seems we just don't put much faith in.
Perhaps it has something to do with Denard's mechanics/ the speed in which he is able to set up and swing the ball out with accuracy. Has Borges stated he hates the bubble screen? Has he used it in the past? I do not know the answer to these questions, but it just might have something to do with personnel.
A true pro-style offense, at least nowadays, contains a buttload of bubble screens. Probably half of Nate Burleson's catches this year were on bubble screens, and Drew Brees just set the passing yardage record due in no small part to the Saints' frequent use of bubble screens.
Charlie Weis may be an arrogant slob, but he had a decent amount of success at the pro level, and he certainly has used the bubble screen in college:
It's getting to the point where it's a little malpractice-y. Especially when Blackledge kept gushing about how stout VaTech was up the middle and how their defense was designed to stop things up the middle and how the best thing to do was spread them out and how we routinely had 3 on 2 situations on the outside and why does Borges hate the bubble so much exactly?
I feel like he should be forced to answer that question some time. I nominate Heiko to keep asking until either Borges answers or he disembowels Heiko with a ballpoint pen.
Let's just pitch in as a community and buy Heiko a Kevlar vest to the next Borges presser.
This question must be asked again...or at least how to exploit the cushy soft coverage on the wideouts. As the OP suggests, we had a few breakout plays that would've gone for huge yards if they were executed better, so we had at least a few tactical bullets in our arsenal to exploit the defense. (I will say, though, that the insta-pressure VT consistently generated definitely hurried Denard on the Vince jailbreak screen that would've gone for mega yards).
Or maybe Brian, as someone who has never played a down of football in his life:
a) doesn't know what he's talking about
b) can't see these concerns being addressed with other plays
The single-minded focus on a single play says more about you (or your slavish repititon of everything on the main page) and Brian then it does Borges.
Take it easy, Champ. Maybe you should sit this one out a little while.
And btw, playing the game is not a pre-requisite to "knowing what you are talking about".
I think playing or coaching a single snap would be a requirement to intelligently question an award-winning OC with 25+ years of coaching experience.
an award winning college football coach who is by all accounts a very good coach, made a very large error when he played for a long field goal in overtime against Michigan State. I think it was a massively -EV play.
I have never played a down of organized football. Does that mean I'm not qualified to make that judgment?
If you can't see the difference between questioning "is kicking a field goal here smart?" and analyzing the X and O's of how one specific play can or can't take advantage of a specific scheme, there is no point in engaging in this conversation.
So, I'm out.
I have played some snaps of football, which may or may not be good enough for you, and incorporating a single play into formations that we already run routinely is not a difficult task. I don't think this topic deserves the kind of controversy it gets one way or the other, but it is a bit of a head-scratcher.
that Brady Hoke, who can level a man with a single point, made a very good move by doing the exact same thing that Mark Richt did to get the win last night. Funny game. Hey everybody, let's just have a good time. Everybody on this board "won state," right?
I don't agree. I've been writing not nearly as long as Borges has been coaching but it has still been a good 15 years since I've been doing it on a higher level than the average adult, yet I've had a guy who grew up in France and never wrote more than a foreign language class paper in the language of Shakespeare correctly criticize something in my writing.
If you make a study of a trade you get better at correctly diagnosing mistakes made by others (and even the greatest practitioners of any trade make mistakes).
Borges hasn't been willing to address the bubble screen issue directly but the inferences we have -- from which coaches he has consulted with to what offenses he has run in the past -- suggest that one play's importance to spread packages is a lesson he missed somewhere.
The bubble is not just one random play in the pantheon of a thousand offensive plays run today. Offensive plays are not like that -- they're kind of like Lego bricks in that they have certain functions toward the building of an offense and some specific bricks are simply the best ones to use for a certain job. It just so happens with a spread shotgun offense a defense's best way to cheat you is to back into Cover 3 and keep the SAM linebacker/nickel nearer to the box. Tthe way you keep that nickelish SAM linebacker honest is to give him what's essentially a run responsibility as far away from the handoff as possible, which is the outside receiver. There isn't another brick that does this as well as a bubble screen.
It's not even just one play. You can bubble to a lot of different receivers with a lot of different looks. The premise is just to put a receiver horizontally far from the action and get him in space against one attacker, taking care of the other attacker either by alignment or a crack-down.
It's just an answer to alignment, not some fancy thing.
In this game however I think VT was tempting Michigan to throw the bubble because they have a 1st round pick playing corner over there, and they could trust Hosley to start in a deep zone yet still get to the bubble receiver and stop the play for minimal gain.
Watch the play in the 2nd half of this video:
Now imagine instead of OSU's corner that's Jayron Hosley making an immediate read and quickly closing the gap. That's why Virginia Tech could get away with that alignment and Michigan probably wouldn't have gotten as much off the bubble as we all think. This is what you should be arguing. The defense of non-bubbling in the Sugar Bowl isn't that Borges is unquestionable or that one brick is one brick; it's that we'd be gambling that VT's NFL-bound corner wouldn't be able to make an NFL-bound corner play.
Seth, a few items:
a) I think your analogy is pretty off, but it's not worth delving into in depth.
b) I don't want to argue specifics on X & O strategy with you (or anyone, really), because I know my own limitations enough to know that I don't know what I'm talking about and, no offense intended, but it's the only way I can say it - I'm not sure you do either. You can parse data like a motherfucker, but...
c) My extreme gut feeling regarding the bubble in this game mirrors yours, re: Hosley. That secondary was lightning fast and was, I'd argue, by far the best we've faced. I swear Hosley cloned himself.
d) My opinion on Borges' offense and the fit of the bubble into it is below: This isn't Magee's offense. If it was, everyone here wouldn't be talking about how all the adjustments Denard needed to make was what kept him inefficient early in the year - a point that is, I think, close to MGoOthordoxy at this point. You can't say "BUT THE BUBBLE IS PART OF RICH RODS OFFENSE AND THUS THIS OFFENSE" and then say "DENARD WAS BAD EARLY BECAUSE HE HAD TO ADJUST TO A COMPLETELY NEW PACKAGE OF ROUTE COMBINATIONS AND READS". Pick one, otherwise, it's a logical fallacy.
e) I think that because Brian (and many others on this blog) have attempted to become amateur experts on X's and O's, that a schematic explanation is often proffered for everything that occurs in a game - plays work because they are good calls or bad calls. People that know much more about football than I (the former contributor known as "gsimmons" for one), frequently said "it's jimmy's and joe's, not x's and o's". I think the largest, most obvious explanation for the struggles of the offense is simply that Virginia Tech's defense was just better. They stuffed the box, and we tried speed options, isos, zones, power, throw-back screens, and read options and couldn't break it. We couldn't even get a receiver open despite them stuffing the box, and we couldn't protect Denard that well. That was, simply, a very talented defense with premier-level coaching. That's why, in my opinion, we couldn't move the ball.
This "BUBBLE SCREENZ" is a facile, annoying method of ignoring that.
We got to agreement pretty quick this time.
b) No, I'm not a great X's and O's guy. The real thing with me is I learn by trying to saying/writing shit I think I might have figured out to bounce off of other minds. I won't throw hairbrained shit out there I can't defend, but I will say things I'm not 100% certain on in the hopes of reeling in some constructive criticism. I have to do this in the boards now because I can't be throwing trial balloons out on the front page.
d) That said I think I've got the bubble screen's concept down, thanks to copious amounts of Chris Brown. It doesn't belong to Magee any more than a Pro Set owns the delayed handoff or the West Coast owns a TE curl. I think it's simply a formation checker. Any team that uses a slot receiver out of any formation by alignment forces the defense to shift somebody from the linebacker count (an OLB or a nickel or what have you) out of the box. This is a boon to the running game since for a few seconds that guy is blocked by alignment. But if that guy creeps back into the box (or is blitzing) you need a way to punish him for that. Out of an I-form or pro set, the punishment is usually a back leaking into the flat because Cheaty McStrongside over there has to chase him. Out of a shotgun formation the bubble screen to the slot receiver (or the outside receiver) does the same thing.
The bubble screen need not be what it was to the RR/Magee offense at WVa, where it was the "candle!" to the "rock or scissors" of the zone read and "paper" of play-action seams by preventing that OLB/CB from being a scraper or blitzer.
The reason I think Borges needs to implement it, in general, is that he is running WAY more shotgun than he is used to, and this means defenses are going to be changing up alignments to it. But then if the opponent has a guy like Hosley who can dodge crack blocks or line up 15 yards deep and still get to the slot before the ball does, well fuck, that's why great players can make an entire defense awesome.
On the whole, though, we agree on the Hosley thing, and that the bickering about this doesn't really apply to VT because of it. And agree that people on the board have taken the bubble calls beyond the level where they actually know what they're talking about, and into the range of parrotting the latest cause celebre of Brian Cook. So we basically agree and I like to type lots of words. WOoooo words.
I don't see how playing a single down, or even 100, would be enough to clear an imaginary hurdle of what is required to question a football coach's philosophy - especially one with 25 years experience.
And keep in mind there are a number of teams that use that specific play to great effect. It is resonable to ask why we don't run the bubble when given the opportunity using personnel with experience running that type of screen.
It's not like our O was tearing it up and this is a stupid question. We couldn't move the damn ball and we weren't taking easy yards. Football is not rocket science - it's ok to ask questions.
Wondering why we don't run bubble screens isn't exactly the uninformed musings of a single yokel. The fact that Borges has lots of experience doesn't make him immune to intelligent criticism.
it's also guys who clearly know a crapton about Xs and Os, like Chris Brown of Smart Football, who frequently discusses the bubble screen as a "constraint play" that is an integral part of the spread option offense.
It's clearly not an integral piece of our offense, as it's not in the playbook.
People can keep talking about how it's a key piece of an offense that is not ours, but...whatever.
For better or worse, our offense has evolved into a spread option offense. Saying the bubble screen isn't an integral part of that offense because we're choosing not to use it leaves no room for the possibility that we're not optimally running the offense.
You're essentially arguing that good offensive coordinators are infallible. I think that's a mistake.
I also think it's a mistake to assume that our coaches don't know what they're doing.
I said Borges's refusal to run this specific play doesn't seem to make any sense given the offense we've chosen to run.
I used to believe that until the GERG experiment.
I'm not arguing that they are infallible.
I'm arguing that 20,000 hits a day doesn't make someone an expert on football, nor does it make the parade of people that mindlessly regurgitate what he says.
The bubble screen is a play that, if I recall, lead our offense into getting annihilated against teams with a pulse for 3 years. It's not a magic bullet, it's a play that sometimes got us 6 yards, and with a secondary as fast and talented as VT's (I swear there were 8 Jayron Hoseley's on the field), could easily get swallowed up.
But of course, we don't allow for that possibility. A popular crochety blogger is upset that we're losing, tweets accordingly, and a tempest in a teapot is born.
The amount of speed that VaTech had on defense really impressed me. I know Brian mentioned that their secondary was good and UM's receivers would have a hard time getting open, but man, they had our receivers blanketed most of the night.
there is literally no one on this blog who has ever argued that the bubble screen is a magic bullet. It's not designed to be. It's designed to get 6 yards and make someone cover the slot reciever. It's simply a piece of a larger offense that lets you do other things easier.
Calvin Magee (who I assume you think knows what he's talking about) says it's an important part of the offense that we have chosen to run this season, and he likely knows more about this specific offensive scheme than Borges does, since this isn't Borges's ideal scheme or what he's most comfortable running.
The degree to which it is alleged that Borges is committing malpractice by not running it (see: this thread), I'd argue it is being bandied about as a magic bullet. Running that play 3 times last night doesn't materially change a thing.
And again - you choose to keep saying that we run Calvin Magee's offense. If that's true, let me ask you:
Why does Borges keep saying (and nobody on this blog has argued with the contention) that Denard had many significant changes to grasp and gain a comfort level with before he could be effective? Why can we accept this explanation that the passing game changed so drastically that Denard lost the comfort level he had gained with the offensive scheme he played for two years, but then sit here, hold our (your) breath, and keep saying "BUT IT'S THE SAME OFFENSE!!!!" ?
I don't think the argument is that this is the same offense. The passing schemes are clearly different. One of those differences is the lack of bubble screens. One is the reduction in quick slants and three-step drops. I don't know how much of Denard's passing regression is due to change in scheme, but all of the talk from Borges about footwork and reads leads me to believe it's a contributing factor.
I'm not all "WHY U NO THROW BUBBLEZ?!" but saying this is overblown is different from the argument you're making. We can agree that the passing scheme is different. We can agree that Borges has integrated a lot of spread concepts into the running game. Calvin Magee and SmartFootball both say that bubble screens are a critical complement to the spread running game because they keep defenses spread out.
What I think people are arguing is that the spread run game should not be paired with a purely pro-style passing game. What we've seen this year is a transition in progress, and the offense has been pieced together with a little of this and a little of that. I credit Borges for identifying the incompatibility of his available players with his preferred scheme and making the necessary adjustments. Long term, he will run what he wants to run, with players that fit that system, and I think it will be successful. That said, I don't think it's unreasonable for people to question whether the transition-year offense was executed as efficiently as it could have been, or even whether it made sense to push the transition in the passing game with Denard still at the helm.
I'm going to stick with Borges over Calvin Magee--especially considering Magee's comments were non-specific and unrelated to Michigan or Borges or 2011.
This offense is better than the one Magee had last season even w/o the bubble screen.
I just think it's so weird that people would hold up a video that's several years old of an assistant coach from another team running a different offense talking about his offense as proof that Michigans very successful OC is wrong. Especially considering that same coach was just fired from Michigan for being worse than the present coach.
The proof on the field totally invalidates this non-specific crap about a different offense that Magee said when he was at another school.
You can't make that comparison because Sophmore Denard =/= Junior Denard and the same is true for the other 10 returning starters on Offense we had this year.
You also have to factor in that the B10 was considerably weaker this year when comparing offenses year to year.
It seems to me. However, I agree that there must be a schematic advantage (xoxo Charlie) to encouraging the DBs to play off our receivers that would be lost if we incorporated the bubble.
At least my blind faith in this staff requires me to believe this.
I think you have to "take what the defense gives you". That's the beauty of any good offense, whether pro-style or spread. You can make the defense pick their poison. If the bubble screen isn't there, something else may be and you end up dictating the defense as much as the defense dictates what you're doing.
right about 8 Hoseleys. It felt for a lot of the game like they were playing with 13 people on defense. I really don't even think the bubble was open. Clemson must have had some special potion because that defense looked stout to me, even relative to other defenses I have watched this post-season. Felt like punching a wall.
Enlighten us on how you would attack a defense constantly blitzing through the A gap then champ? I know I am a little curious why they pretty much used MSU's gameplan against us again, and they still seem to have no answer. I agree that everyone is hung up on bubble screens, but there are plenty of other plays for making them pay for that they we have not seen either. A basic running back screen. Running the TE behing the blitzing LB's and dumping it off. A swing pass to a back. Al has to have something he can go to that will counter that A gap blitz doesn't?
Well, Champ, I believe you didn't see me make any claim on having a shred of x-and-o expertise. I am also positive, buckaroo, that you didn't see me say a work about "a basic running back screen" (though we did run a few of those), "running the TE behing (sic) the blitzing LB's and dumping it off", or "a swing pass". What I did comment on is the single-minded obsession with bubble screens, sport.
I could care less about Brian. He's right though. I could care less about a bubble screen, but when you have 3 WR's and they guard them with 1 guy that is a mismatch. We were running against 7 man boxes all night because they cheated their alignment.
You can call any play you want but you have to have a constraint play to counter your base play so the defense won't cheat. If they won't cover the 3 WR set with the appropriate amount of db's and you don't like the quick screen then don't line up 3 WR's anymore and bring a blocker in to help against the unblocked defender.
I'll list my resume as apparently now it is neccesary for the internet.
Played 6 years
Scouted 8 years.
Man, what is it with you lately? Did I unwittingly sleep with your girl?
I thought we covered all this the last time you accused me of parroting everything Brian says. There are some things about which I agree with Brian. For some reason that really burns you, and compels you to spend your time typing about it. I find that strange.
It's one thing if you disagree with me or Brian or both (and although I have made a skin suit of Brian out of the flesh and beard of the dead male hookers I have killed, it may surprise you to know that Brian and I are not the same person). But you're not even engaging the argument (which is kind of what a sports blog is for). Rather, you are spending your time obsessing about the perceived similarity between something that Brian wrote and something I wrote. It's kind of disturbing, frankly.
You know what, I'll revoke the personal dig, apologies.
I still think you (and Brian) are wrong, as detailed elsewhere in this thread.
Nothing can take the joy out of watching Michigan win like coming to MGoBlog sometimes. Jesus.
I still haven't completely accepted the reality that Michigan won that game. Since when does Michigan have breaks go its way? Since when does anything go Michigan's way in a bowl? This is not the universe I grew up in!
The game plan by Borges was just horrible. If we would have lost, this would have been magnified more, but we won so no one is talking about it. The plays run on first down were down right pathetic.
At times I thought I was watching an old offense play with 2011 players. Run middle, run middle, pass, punt. That was an extremely painful game to watch, at least for this guy.
Its great to win, no doubt. But it was not all that fun to watch it unfold. Watching the players celebrate on stage afterwards made it all worthwhile though.
The game was indeed painful to watch (when we were on offense), but that "run mddle, run middle, punt" stuff is wrong.
There are many ways to run up the middle. None worked, but we tried them all; isos, zones, powers, traps, under center, out of the gun. So "run middle, run middle" holds no weight. There were a lot of plays called to find something that worked. We didn't, but just because you are not sophisticated in football tactics doesn't mean it was unimaginative, which seems to be your complaint.
For the record we also ran outside. This didn't really work either, although damned if we didn't call zones, read options, speed options, and influence plays to find something. Still, that didn't fit your meme, so I can see why you left it out.
And we also passed. We passed for 2 interceptions and a couple others that could have been picked, so in those cases the old "run middle" may have been the right thing to do. Imagine that!
Our offense sucked, but not for the reasons you think it did. Chitown is onto it when he says VT has a good D and our line played poorly.
What would you have done??? Nothing was working. Denard was getting keyed on, Fitz couldn't get anything going, our passes were being deflected and covered. Give VaTech some credit for having probably the best D we've faced all year, aside from maybe MSU.
We won. Borges could give to shits what you think about his playcalling (as he should)
What the hell are bubble screens? /S
Borges's hatred of the bubble screen is well known, and illogical, especially in games like last night.
And I bet, even Borges is disappointed by his playcalling last night.
Here is why our offense didn't work:
That defense was plenty talented, moreso than this blog, or the experts of the blogosphere gave it credit for, and beat the shit out of an OL whose best player was playing on one foot.
I completely agree with you. Tech's defense was stiffling and they blew up all kinds of running plays designed between the tackles. That said, did anyone else wonder why they weren't trying to get Denard out on the edge more than they did? Or was it simply not possible due to Tech's speed on defense?
(Disclaimer: I am admittedly a layperson and I do not pretend differently, so please do not ridicule me for asking these questions.)
I didn't notice Denard really having much of an opportunity to go outside. That defense was really fast and seemed to get on every horizontal thing we tried. That tunnel to Gallon was the only horizontal play we ran that I saw work.
It sure was frustrating to watch the Tech defense blow up the O-Line time and time again. I can't figure out if it was a factor of Molk being hurt or that their interior D-Line played out of their minds. And you're right - that one time they tried the Jet Sweep it got absolutely blown up.
Our line isn't/wasn't athletic enough. Their D-line held their own, but a lot of the time, it was secondary players, who were in the box all night, making plays, which only helped their D line as the game went on. The confusion VT created upfront seemed to get to us. We started to roll out to buy time in passing plays, but their secondary was athletic enough to keep us largely in check. We really need a receiver with great speed to help us open some things up. We also probably could have used the TE more in the receiving game.
I thought it was kind of amusing how many people visited my blog and admonished me for overrating Virginia Tech's position groups.
I have a feeling that Borges is to bubble screens as Zoolander is to left turns.
We are 11 -2 and just won the Sugar Bowl. Better find something to complain about.
will shed further light on all of this as team gets more time and experience with new systems and coaches get more time and experience with players......
To answer the original question; no, I did not see how VT was leaving themselves open to the bubble screen.
Instead, it seemed to me that VT had some very good and active DBs that were all over the short passing game.
It seems that many have started to watch Michigan games thinking that every single snap would be an excellent time for the most amazing play in all of football the bubble screen.
It's a tad ridiculous. This wanting them to run a specific play that they haven't run all season has run its course. They don't run bubble screens. This does not mean Borges is stupid or dum or wrong or anything. It's just one specific play that they don't run. FIN
So, since we haven't run it all year, all the teams we faced "had some very good and active DBs that we all over the short passing game" in addition to Borges just not liking to run it? If we don't like to run it, than it is what it is, but it was there for the taking. Just because they were jumping slants and 5 yard curls on the outside receiver doesn't mean that the bubble screen or a similar play isn't there for the slot receiver.
I thought this game, in particular, was not a good game for everyone to be all BUBBLE SCREENZ about because VT was all over the short stuff with their very good DBs. The VT DBs did not appear to be laying off Michigans WRs. I said nothing about other games. I see no evidence that bubble screen 'was there for the taking.' You presented no argument compelling or not that it was. Stating something as a fact with no evidence to back it up is not an argument.
But none of this is important because Michigan does not run bubble screens.
You're right, it doesn't matter since we don't run them, but, just because we haven't run it all season doesn't mean that it's not there for the taking against some teams. You're saying in addition to not having run it during the season, that it wasn't there. Last night, it was there for the inside receiver. The defender covering them was 10 yards off on plenty of plays which is enough room to run an effective bubble screen. The short stuff they were all over was with the outside receiver with the CB playing 7 or so yards off, not the inside receiver. And people saying you only run it a few times for a small gain, maybe we do run it a few times, but maybe we fake it and go deep or exploit another hole to capitalize on their aggressive defense.
Surely Borges has a philosophical beef with the bubble screen, but if you're gonna spread people out you have to attack wide to counter that entire fanbase in the box defense. Then it sets up that run-pass play-action slant stuff that we absoultely killed peeps on last year. Oh well, we won & are 11-2. Boo yeah!!
I do think that we should incorporate the bubble screen in our offense. I am a firm believer in taking what the defense gives you. That being said, I think chitown is absolutely correct in pointing out the fanaticism that many of us users have with the bubble screen.
The bubble is certainly a tool that we should use, but it's generally not something that drastically changes a game, except in a situation where the slot reciever is an athletic phenomenon that can be regularly counted on to beat one man and go a long way. We don't have one of those. More to the point, if we did, the defense would already be worried about that reciever and they would certainly cover him. And, in that case, the reciever himself would provide that defensive constraint that the bubble screen seeks to create without a single bubble screen actually being thrown. Without such personnel, the bubble is basically a 5 yard pitch play.
Not that a 5 yard run is something to scoff at. But, in the case of our offense, I really believe that even if we ran 10 bubbles a game, the defense would not give it much attention. The reason is Denard Robinson/Fitz Toussaint. Defenses (good, smart ones) would rather be bled to death by short bubbles than put a player out there to stop it and let our running game get going. If they don't pack the box, Denard can take one for 6 at any time. And when he's not doing that, Toussaint is running the ball effectively, to the tune of 5.6 yards per carry.
So, when both the QB and the RB average over 5 yards per carry and are both a threat to score on any given play, the defense must focus on stopping them, bubble screens be damned. The bubble has about the same average yards per play, but is much less likely to break for a huge gain. And it carries the risk of putting the ball in the air.
In the end, we are arguing about maybe 35 yards per game. YPG isn't something we have struggled with. The idea of putting defenses in a "pick your poinson" situation is great in theory and critical to the philosophy of the spread, but entirely irrelevent in our case; the defense MUST pick the Denard poison or get killed.
For what it's worth, I do fancy myself of expert at offensive football.
I agree that it's not as big a deal as some make it out to be, but once you show the bubble screen, there are other things you can do out of that look that will confuse a defense. Virginia Tech and other aggressive defenses may bite on the bubble screen pump fake and allow themselves to get beaten up top, where they don't have safety help sometimes.
With RR, we had a very effective play where we faked the zone read with Denard to find Roundtree or another slot open in the seam for a long gain. It's not a play that you try to run continuously, but over the course of a season, the half a dozen or so times it works may make a big difference.
I also like the play so that Denard has an easy throw to help his rhythm and at times, it may be more effective at getting us into 3rd and manageable situations.
The seam play you are talking about has nothing at all to do with the bubble. So that's a wierd interjection. It was very effective for us, however, and I kind of miss it.
I also like the idea of the bubble helping Denard get into a rhythm. Easy, quick throws that can help him build up some confidence. Unfortunately, if you remember last year, he wasn't really great at them.
And, I think that this discussion is very tangential to the topic at hand, the bubble screen qua bubble screen. It simply isn't a big concern for the defense because they will have to ignore it in favor of defending our running game. And, although I'd love to see us convert some third-and-short situations with the bubble, in a game like last nights, where nothing was really working, the bubble wouldn't have made much of a difference, unless you are willing to run it every single play.
cant run bubble screens when they crowd the line of d
Do you honestly think people would be clamoring for this play if they were playing bump and run. Whether they're crowding the line of scrimmage between the hashes makes no difference when running this play out of the gun.