Calling Space Coyote and other coaches: please help me understand three things
I didn't get to watch (thankfully..) Saturday because of a wedding, but the same thing happened a few times against MSU where the entire line blocked hard to the right and left Fitz alone with a DE... who easily won every time. I know a couple of those appeared to be Gardner checks but even then it was questionable and happened enough it appeared to be schematic so I'd also like to know if coaches like SpaceCoyote think that was intentional or another messed up assignment. My gut is that it was intended and they just have the expectation that the RB can get over and stuff the DE long enough for Gardner to roll right and get a pass off.
is (I think) at 1:10 on the Nebraska highlight reel (they've disabled embedding):
The RB trying to block is Derrick Green.
And here's another slide protection fail (the play starts at 1:10):
The one attempted block (if you can call it that) by Toussaint was just ridiculous, almost didn't even get a hand on the defender - embarrassing. Green's guy got to the QB too, but he did hold up the defender a couple of seconds at least.
Both of those are slide protections. Michigan doesn't want to run slide protections (because of the match up problem you discussed in the first play), but was forced to because the man-blocking schemes were proving too difficult for the OL yet again.
Slide protections are gap schemes. Rather than being assigned a first level defender with your eyes on a 2nd level (or a DB if he's moving up), you are responsible for your gap.
So on the first play, everyone slide left to take the gap to their left. The player that runs through that gap should be picked up. If not, you have to keep you're eyes on that gap but you can help out. What this means though is that if someone goes through, say, Schofield's gap and the slide protection is left, it means Fitz is alone on the backside to pick up at DE possibly.
Against MSU, there was an example of Lewan not leaving his gap early enough to help Fitz on a DE. It's a tough assignment, and he probably doesn't get there fast enough anyway, but the idea is that he slides, hinges, and works back, keeping his eyes on his gap as you don't know if someone is looping or delaying their blitz.
So, with that in mind:
Question 1: the defender came right at Schofield and Schofield had no one else in his gap. That was Schofield's man. Fitz thought the same, as he took and angle where he would only chip and then likely release. But Schofield looked at him then proceeded to do nothing, leaving him to an unprepared (rightfully so) Fitz, who couldn't get in position (understandably) to make the block.
Question 2: The defender stunted inside, or more accurately tried to scrape across the formation as the play was rolling away. Again, both players have the gap to the side they are sliding, this time to the right. If the player crosses in front of your face, he's likely going to the guy a gap over (or in the direction the slide is going). In this case, the guy crossed Lewan's face and Lewan popped him but realized he wasn't going in that gap, so he then hinged back to try to take anyone coming further from the back side. The defender was then crossing Bosch's face and it was Bosch's man. Whether Bosch though there was someone inside of him or not, I can't say, but Bosch never moved his feet well enough to get in position to pick up the man he was supposed to get.
Those two plays were the most angry I've been at the OL this year, FWIW. So that explains how bad both missed assignments were. Michigan's staff is simplifying the pass protectin scheme to a high school level and the players still aren't executing. That screams coaching issue at the position level to me, because you can't dumb down the pass pro anymore.
I don't understand how a guy can get to this level and do such a poor job. At some point he had lines that performed well or else he would not have gotten this job. Can you explain this?
I'm going to start by saying that I'm 100% sure Funk knows the scheme and techniques and much, much more. Funk knows all the necessary things and more for the position. All the coaches at this level do.
So then what does it come down to? Well, part of it is youth. Part of it is that this stuff clicks at different times for different players, and if there wasn't this youth, those that weren't ready wouldn't be put in this position. But all of them? To me that says that however he's coaching is failing to get across to the players. Something is flawed with his coaching and teaching.
Now, this might not be the case all the time (with regards to how does he get to this spot). He may have had kids at one time that took to the recruiting. Maybe there were some seniors that understood it and helped spread that knowledge and that system continued. Maybe there is something else in a similar regard. It's hard to say. Sometimes things just don't fit. It's why you see guys fail miserably in one spot and succeed in another. There is luck involved, skill involved, and everything inbetween. But to me, something seems wrong with the transfer of knowledge between the OL coaches and the players, particularly the young players. And that's the biggest problem in my opinion, but also explains how he's gotten to this level
You deserve the Highest of Fives
It's part of the reason OL is a tough position to scout/recruit and why recruiting rankings particularly don't mean as much for OL. It's a really tough position. There are so many question marks/changes/knowledge thrown at these kids, some just don't handle it.
I think for some it's just confusion. I think some are pressing and making it worse (pure assumption, but this is what I personally believe is happening to Kalis), and some of it is the transfer of knowledge.
So yeah, I agree with you on all accounts.
is probably the speed of the D-linemen at this level, at least for Bosch since he's a true freshman. There's a big difference in speed/athleticism/strength between 17-18 year old high school guys and 21-22 year old B1G defensivie linemen.
I feel like their confidence is completely gone right now, most young athletes have rollercoaster emotions and once one mistake takes place the butterfly effect takes place. A lot of these fans fail to realize the mental aspect of the game.
And it's very valid with blocking at this level. If you are unsure of what you're supposed to do, or in other terms, not confident you can do your assignment or what your assignment is, you're going to hesitate, your fundamentals will break down, and bad things will happen.
No doubt that confidence plays a significant role.
Absolutely. They seem to be anticipating that they will screw up. It's tough to watch, because we want them to do well and succeed.
Not sure if you'll see this but I have a theory. . .
It's possible there's some bizarre phenomenon taking place due to lack of middleclassmen. People keep talking about Lewan and Schofield as leaders of the O-line, but they're fifth-year seniors with sights on the NFL leading a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds. Imagine if you mistakenly sat through a quantum physics lecture on your first day of class instead of Physics 101. You don't have a chance.
It's possible the coaches tried to do way too much, way too soon. Now we've got several partial blocking schemes in their head and no middleclassmen to serve as liaisons for the rest of the O-line. Lewan and Schofield are passing off assignments like pros to kids who can barely handle basic schemes at college speed. When frustration sets in everyone tries to do too much when they'd be better off on a playing level they can all execute. But this involves Lewan and Schofield falling back to high school level, and that's GOTTA be aggravating for them -- not to mention completely neutralizing all the benefits of their experience.
I can't go too far into blocking concepts so sticking to what I know (soccer), I think I can still relate. I'm firmly an amateur but I do have some competitive playing experience, and when I play soccer with a beginner there's some frustration. For example, after defending a play I'll kick a pass in front of a winger to start the counterattack, and the guy just stands there watching it go out-of-bounds and stares at me like I kicked it nowhere. You're supposed to trap the ball in stride you nitwit; if I pass to where you're standing the forward will pick it off or at the very least you'll have a mark in your face as soon as the ball arrives. Can you count to potato while you're at it?
My point is that it's damn tough to establish chemistry when the gap in experience is vast. It's certainly an odd situation and no good can come from it.
I think there is probably some validity here, because I've had similar frustrations myself in my playing days (basketball more so than other sports)
I don"t want to get this thread shut down, but keep in mind, Funk just lost his Dad and we have no idea what lead up to that. Funk may not have had his full attention on everything at Michigan. If that's part of it, I get it. It sucks for the other coaches, players, and fans, but I get it.
I hadn't even considered this angle; thanks for bringing it up.
The O-line problems that you're seeing? If the coaching is so bad (and it seems it), how can the other coaches not notice it and fix it themselves? Is this common?
So something has to change with regards to how they are teaching them. How they are presenting the techniques and concepts, those types of things. Now, how is that done? Without being in practice every day with these guys I have absolutely no clue. And even then it's difficult to tell with that sort of thing. I mean, it could simply be they aren't meshing. I don't know.
The schemes and concepts are no different than most teams. The youth on the interior isn't common, so it's hard to say how common these pass pro issues are. My guess is the pass pro being this bad is not common.
Thanks for your insight, Space Coyote!
I'm no coach but am more troubled by these issues knowing that Hoke and Mattison are D-Line coaches themselves. I'd have guessed that with all of their experience, they'd have noticed this right away and nipped it in the bud. I now understand why they were so excited about their defense in pre-season practice.
Realistically do you there is any chance this gets better in the next few weeks? Could something "click" somewhere? Or is it too late for this season? These guys must be extremely frazzled at this point and could be getting even worse.
I don't think at this point, in season, it's going to click for them as a unit.
Now, you might see flashes of it clicking at times yet this year. Little things like "hey, that wasn't horrid looking", but I highly doubt it'll be with any consistency. You may see some of the improvement you're hoping for in the bowl game. It may click for 1 guy and not another. I think next year is a more realistic without being overly optimistic look at things though, unfortunately.
Thanks, about what I expected. Maybe with the bowl game break something happens and we get a surprise. This is why I never bought the argument that our O-Line was going to decline next year with the loss of the tackles. If the interior is better everything else will be better.
I think what you can hope to find next year is that the OL is more consistent and is capable of the mental part of the game. This is pretty much what the '12 OL was. They got to their positions, they picked up their pass protection, and they didn't really do a whole lot more.
Now, I believe these guys have a bit more upside than that, and hopefully you'll also see flashes of them developing into guys that can do more than that, but doing their job consistently is the biggest step. That's the difference between MSU's OL last year and their OL this year, and look how much of an improvement that was for their offense.
When the middle is porous it really doesn't matter how good the tackles are. Seems to me the reverse is easier to deal with. The center position may the most underappreciated in football.
Lewan has never played OG, so I don't think you want him there. Also, OTs and OC are most responsible for communication, so that would be an issue. And I'm not really sure you want two new edge guys.
Some people have brought up the possibility of moving Schofield inside. I don't think much is gained by putting him at RG, as I think you have a lot of the same issues and now have issues on the edge, so you're not gaining a strength from it. But moving Schofield to LG actually gives you a strong side to run to and maybe get some run game production. You may sacrafice a little more in pure pass pro, but if you can run a little bit then hopefully teams are teeing off as much.
May be too late in the season for that move, but I do think that argument has validity.
But wouldn't that in essance be like the ineffective tackle over formations?
It wouldn't be as much of a tip-off, but if Schofield were made a permanent LG I think that would just give the defenses another small edge in that they'd know if we're going to run the ball, it's going left a lot.
People often forget that Michigan OLs were relatively terrible in the Jake Long era. Really, it was zone left behind long and the second best OL at LG.
I personally think Tackle Over isn't bad, there isn't anything inherently wrong with it, it's just that the interior OL still makes enough mistakes to make it ineffective.
In essence, moving Schofield to LG would push that ineffective backside further back. It also, in theory, still at least puts OL on the weakside when you do the change up and run right.
It certainly isn't the answer to all the problems, far from it. But it may be something worth trying to at least force the defense to respect something. Right now they essentially don't really respect any run because they know they can beat the blocks of the interior guys.
of this board, SC. Right now, amid the negativity, you're the only reason I'm finding to come here.
I think the time to change things up have long sense passed. In hindsight, the shuffling that's been done was probably ill advised. These guys just need time playing and practicing together. I agree with SC that the earliest we can expect noticeable improvement is probably the bowl game, and more likely the spring game. It's going to be a wild ride until then.
i agree with SC, it probably isn't going to just "click" sometime this season. I think a lot of it is mental and the coaches need to re-evaluate how they are teaching things. I personally do not think there will be coaching changes made unless Dave Brandon forces it. That being said, I think this oline needs two things....time! and another year of strength and conditioning....
The thing I wouldn't mind happening would be for Hoke to hire a d-line coach, let Mattison rome around more on defense and it would free up Hoke to work with the offense too, particularly the oline
While Hoke certainly knows the basics of OL technique and what they need to do, he's never taught the position. He's always been on the opposing side of it. While some benefit can come from that, Michigan already has a dedicated OL coach and an offensive GA that is essentially an assistant OL coach. More cooks in the kitchen I don't think is the answer to the problem.
Sometimes it can help hearing it from the head man, a lot of great position coaches come from the opposite side of the ball. I think it would help best with building confidence for the offense
Thanks, here is what I don't get on the Lewan/Bosch thing, I typically see other teams leave the backside defenders free on a sprint roll out. I.e. The sprint away from them takes them out of the play. So why would Lewan & Bosch both be hanging out to the left when everyone else is sprinting to the right? Why not just one of them? Why would they also not move right to ensure no one could get through? If it's a second look to play off the "Vincent Smith throw back screen" (yes, I have ceremoniously dubbed it that), I get it. Somehow, I don't think that is the case because they had the RB running to the right instead of hanging back to pick up the backside defender which would be a better setup for that play.
There are slide protections that you slide everyone. They might have tried to split the difference a bit because of alignment. Does Fitz act as a lead blocker on the roll? Sometimes they'll have the RB be front side C pass pro to backside A, depending on the defensive formation. If there are only two threats backside, they may do something like this and have the backside OT hinge to prevent a free rush from the backend completely. Whereas the backside OG will play straight up to inside (don't let him cross your face). This may explain why Bosch released his guy, he didn't completely understand the slide protection. Or, there may have simply been a miscommunication and only Lewan was supposed to essentially hinge.
My guess though, they were sliding together based on defensive alignment to make it so there were no clear rush lanes for the defense to run through. That forces (or should) the defense to go across Bosch's face or behind Lewan to get in the backfield, in which case they should be picked up.
A lot of this stuff can only be guessed at, as it's hard to say what the communication was at the line or the actual pass pro call. But it was clear both were slide protections.
It pains me to think we have to watch this happen all over again next season.
Most self-improvement will come in the first 5 practices or so of bowl practice (when you get back to focusing on fundamentals and other technique/mental related issues before addressing the opponent), spring practice (where you're only focused on yourself) and the first week or so of Fall camp. So hopefully by then, the mental issues of the young players will be fixed enough to have 5 guys that understand how to work together on the field. Experience will help that, and an offseason after that experience should really help as well. Emphasis on should.
In theory. I'm trying to stay positive. Would be nice to finish this year up strong.
I'm not who you're looking for and I'm not an Oline blocking expert but I think much of what line bring up is why there's a mass questioning about the offensive line philosophy and here's that word...Scheme. Are they being taught schemes and techniques that aren't making sense for college players? I.e. the calling for Funk to be gone.
Just an observation more than an opinion on the nature of what's occurring with this young, dreadful offensive line.
And the interior is struggling to pick it up (that's why all the interior pressure got home for MSU). That 2-on-2 blocking scheme is better for match up reasons, it puts OL on DL and on the biggest threat LBs (like Bullough) and leaves the smaller players to Fitz, or it's supposed to. But the OL struggled to get in position, pass off players, etc.
That's why they have gone to more of a gap scheme (they didn't do so until the 2nd half of the MSU game I believe, they went to it I believe the 2nd or 3rd drive against Nebraska) which is simpler, but less optimal with match-ups and easier to get the match ups the defense wants.
I've more or less assumed and gathered they've gone to a more simplistic approach to blocking; as you say, they've pretty much installed high school level assignment blocking (i.e. the gap blocking scheme).
It's still failing. And as you've already answered in this thread, that must mean there's a fundamental flaw in the teaching that is occuring; maybe all of these kids never pan out to be great players but even if they were below average, in my humble opinion, they should be getting SOME of these concepts. Instead, it seems every damn play something is amiss from at least one person and as we've all unfortunately learned these past few months, if one of the 5 Olinmen errs the whole play is often nuked.
OR, would you say (likely early, i.e. not watched film yet) that they were doing a decent job against Nebraska, as a unit, but the approach/scheme they went to was too basic and easy for the defense to defeat? To guess and preface a response you may give, when they're (Nebraska) throwing the book at you with so much blitzing/pressure and there's been very little to back them off, it was pretty much a lose-lose situation no matter the Oline "scheme"...??
I think it's a combination of both. They certainly weren't picking up the non-slide protections. Then they got picked on a bit with slide protections because it's easy to pick on, and they just messed up on assignments. It's not what I'd call a thing of beauty.
You'll get a lot of different responses with that one. My personal opinion is that it's being over stated. It is true that Michigan has tendencies. Some of those tendencies are a little more clear because they are limited at the TE position due to youth and forced to play one of their TEs at WR. In other formations, there are tendencies once again. Williams will typically mean run play, but not only (same with Paskortz, but to a lesser degree). Funchess as a TE usually means pass, but not always. Butt is a mixed bag.
Likewise, stack formations are more often pass plays because it's a bit more difficult to get into blocks from them, but this is far from always true. Motion from the WR is often a tip to see what the defensive coverage is, so more often than not it's probably a pass. TE motion I think is pretty well mixed between run/pass.
So, I do think there are plays Michigan runs more often than others (there base plays). I do think they have tendencies, both for personnel and formation. But I think all teams have those. Michigan may lean a bit to tendency more because of youth at TE (they aren't yet diverse players that can run routes and block) and a simplified playbook after they looked confused earlier in the season. But it is far from a significant difference from other teams, and I do believe what Hoke said to be true in that regard.
Thanks, I'm more curious as if the spacing between the players, or how they set up in their stance, or which way they might be leaning is tipping the defense off as to which direction the play may be going?
Not that I've been looking for it either. Usually you won't find a lot in the OL splits to tip plays outside of some "and short" situations like Stanford. Look for the TE alignment more often to tip plays (which way are they facing, how close to the OT, especially if they are off the LOS, are they behind the OT or not). I've seen a few teams this year (I think ND) somewhat tip some of their plays where they kick out the DE by setting up the OT a bit further from the OG. These are usually spread teams that don't have a TE so they are trying to give the kick blocker a bit more room. They'll kind of do it for a lead puller as well. But, then they'll also pass out of it a bit so it's not a clean "tip" and use the fact that the widen out the DE to their advantage.
There may be some 2-point vs 3-point stance things that hint at certain plays. I know with Wisconsin you can often look at one side in 3-point and the other in 2-point. Well, usually the 2-point is in pass pro (especially as backside PA guys) while the 3-point is run side (to get leverage). But they can run to the 3-point side regardless of the 2-point side. They can also do other things so it isn't a complete tip.
But as far as weight distribution out of a stance, I doubt it much. They might do it a little, but that's mostly being restless out of a stance. They are pretty well coached in starting from the same weight distribution to utlize all their blocks.
This sort of speaks to something I have noticed (and I could be off here), and it might tie into the quotes about predictability that have come about in the last couple days. It does seem that the diversity of play called has lessened, that the playbook has gotten quite simple for this line. It seems sometimes as if we might be tipping plays because we don't run a very diverse set of them in some respects and that "predictable" may stem from that.
This one was on the players. When you slide the entire line the tackle opposite the play side isn't supposed to go charging to that side. He is supposed to move, but slow enough that he could still block the DE.
Schofield went too quick and left Gregory, and I don't think he blocked anyone.
As the backside player, he needs to understand the player behind him better. In this case, he should keep his eyes inside to his gap but help backside. At worst, he should slide and then hinge step back to the DE when he sees no one coming inside his gap.
it's plays like that which boggle my mind. that's about as easy a concept you can get. i understand young guys missing the occasional blitzer. but consistently have 2-3 defenders blowing through the line. youth or not. worse o-line ever. and it's inexecusable.
These guys played high school ball. They were highly regarded as recruits. They were supposed to be pretty good coming in. They come to Michigan and suddenly they're incompetent.
That they can't figure out a basic blocking scheme they should have been already using for years is difficult to comprehend. It's like they've never played football before.
I'm sure there are countless things I do which are complicated and you wouldn't understand. If I'm good at what I do, I could explain it to you. Anytime you would like to talk shop about basketball which I have both playing and coaching experience in, let me know, I'll take the time to teach you.
My fault, haven't seen your other posts so I couldn't tell. There are still a few posters desperately gripping to this theme (yes, I have seen 2017 mentioned in other threads). Carry on with all the sarcasms.
Shut the fuck up. I've heard a hundred of you assholes say the same shit since 2008. It's now 2013 and I'm not waiting until 2017. Nebraska's scrubs patched together their offensive line on Saturday and still ran the ball 100x better than we have all year. I'm not buying the youth excuse. There's been too many of our players thrown in the mix this year that look as bad as the last guy that played. Funk isn't teaching shit to these players and it shows every week. How many practices does a guy need for this shit to sink in?
"How many practices does a guy need for this shit to sink in?"
Details are what make up an overall picture. Michigan obviously isn't getting them right. I find someone actually talking about them shows a lot more insight and likely better foundational basis for forming an opinion.
Without actually giving credit to Brian.
And don't worry about this guy, he's been trying to troll me since he joined. You can look at his history, it's full of times trying to call me out (even when I wasn't a part of the conversation or even in certain threads).
Awww, you have your very own Ace. Congrats.
Obvious troll is a troll.
You don't have to root for the team. You are free! Embrace the choosing of your own destiny! You are a singer of songs and dreamer of dreams!
This is absolute bullshit. How many years are we going to use this or similar excuses? Next year you'll be spouting how the reason for our struggles are because we're replacing our two tackles. But it'll be okay, because we'll just need to wait one more year before we're finally good. The year after that, you'll be telling us that we need to give it one more year because we'll need to find a way to replace JMFR, Funchess if he declares, and so on.
Plenty of coaches out there have accomplished more with a hell of a lot less. Seniors aren't the only guys who can go out and win your football games for you. Alabama graduated nearly its entire offensive line from last year and yet they're still manhandling everyone they play. Great teams find a way to replace the guys they lost and still keep on winning.
A person who describes how liver cancer destroys the liver is not saying, "Liver cancer is really cool!" Similarly, he's just telling us what went wrong on the OL. He's not apologizing for anyone.
Kudos to you trueblueintexas for asking some specific questions and in a rational tone. It's a welcome reprieve from some of the OMG! The Oline sux! Fire the coaches! outbursts.
Thanks. Unfortunately my wife and son may have heard one or two of those outbursts over the past four weeks.
I thought I was losing it for a second. I swore I was asked very close to the same question. I saw I was above. But you had me losing it for a second like that Reese's commercial.
They can still improve bit by bit. They can still get closer to actually getting it. There is certainly still important work and growth to be done this season from that unit. Just, I doubt it gets to the point it needs to get to be consistent this year.
I wouldn't be surprised, honestly, if the coaches think Lewan and Schofield on the same side makes sense, to see it in the bowl game. There is enough time then to rep it and it may help Schofield with his next level position a bit.
no amount of Space Coyote rationale is helping me anymore. I am convinced: some subset of coaches aren't very good at their job. It could be just Funk, it could be Funk + Al, and (here's the bad news), it might go all the way to the top man.
With you 100%. These guys saying that all of us don't see the long-term picture and we just need to have patience until 2016 when things get better are getting to me. The long term picture that I see is that of mediocrity. To stoop to the levels we have in this process is enough for me. To see no improvement is enough for me. To play to a draw with Akron and UConn and lose to PSU were enough. Back to back -20+ yard rushing games were enough. Watching Gardner regress each game us enough. I don't want to wait until 2016 because I feel we need to cut our losses now, starting with Borges and Funk.
What else no one talks about is how badly Hoke manages end of half/game/time outs. He made huge fuck ups in the LSU game (delay of game x 2), time out after out of bounds pass and then vs Nebraska he sat on 3 time outs when he should have used them to give us more time. And this is without wearing a headset!!!! He just isn't that sharp. These coaches I just can't see giving us a tactical advantage outside Mattison at any point in the future. Do you guys honestly think that this level of ineptitude is a requisite at a school like Michigan with the talent we have star-wise to almost lost to Akron who hadn't one a road game in 8 years?!?!
Ugh. *Won. *PSU not LSU. But still. I would love to have hope again.
Protection where the entire line gap blocks one direction and the back the other is pure gap scheme. As such, the back is responsible for the outside gap to the side he blocks.
Slide protection goes like this:
- In the video embedded above, it is slide left. Starting from the right side of the line, each OL in pass pro blocks the DL over him.
- The first uncovered OL-man (in this case OT Schofield) gap blocks (or slides) to the left, and will communicate across the line that he starts the slide.
- So, Williams has the RDE, then Schofield is uncovered, so he has right B-gap (his left side, hence the terminology slide left), the ROG has right A-gap, the C has the left A, etc.
- The back is responsible to pick up a blitzing LB or stunting DL from inside out. If two or more players show from the C gap out, the RB takes the inside most defender, and the QB "takes" the remaining by throwing hot, usually designated by a flat route or shallow cross. The back does not check release outside, but if no one shows he is a check down right behind the DL.
So, in the embedded video above, the play at 1:10, the player coming at Schofield is a blitzing LB. If he went inside Scho, Scho would've taken him. Since he went outside, he's Fitz's man. Fitz should've had his eyes on that LB pre-snap, and as soon as he started blitzing, assumed he would be taking him unless he went inside Schofield, making sure that Schofield was engaged with him in the B gap. Fitz also should've seen that the OLB to his blocking side didn't come, and that the DE was manned up by Williams, meaning that the only threat was that blitzing LB or a looping DT or LB, who would be coming off Schofield's butt late. I don't know why Fitz is popping outside like that; there's zero threat there. This one's on Fitz.
They showed a replay in game from the backside and that LB was crashing right at Schofield after his slide. So Schofield's eyes were inside on that guy but he continued to slide past. They guy did attack Schofield's inside gap from my memory of the replay.
Now, looking at it again I do agree more re: Fitz I still don't know. There was the stacked LB over the DE that Fitz was looking at and stepping directly to. I really think the replay view from the back shows this much better.
Here's a link of the replay
...saying he should've gotten help from Schofield, confirming that the LB was Fitz's man. Fitz simply got juked, but he should've made sure that he was engaged with Schofield b/c Fitz had no other threat.
There was a LB stacked directly over the DE.
Also, Spielman says that Fitz goes to chip him, implying he is Schofield's man but Fitz is going to be the primary blocker. He attacked Schofield straight up and pulled a swim move on Schofield to get around him. He was directly over Schofield and Schofield never even reached. Fitz was going to chip off of Schofield block and likely work out into a route. Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree here, but I hear Spielman saying that it's Schofield's guy and Fitz is trying to chip, but he doesn't get any help from Schofield (as in Schofield didn't do his job, which is to allow Fitz to simply chip). I mean, his starting path is even inside of Schofield, it's not until Schofield slides directly beneath him that the rusher desides to swim outside of him. But the move if very clearly done on Schofield.
What he saying is technically correct. The slide protection is a gap scheme where your blockers are pass protecting a particular gap to one direction or the other. Because of that, yes, it does sometimes isolate your RB, that's the downside of not being able to do a more man blocking pass protection scheme that is more complex.
I personally disagree with him based on the replay that I linked, but everything he stated is technically correct based on what he saw.
Full slides are not ever paired with slow-developing plays. Not in this case, or any other.
They are paired with short passes, as they effectively create a sliding wall that should NEVER let allow for a free runner, inside or out. But, like any football play, it has a weakness, and this is the RB blocking the backside edge. But people who coach know this and thus, full slides are never paired with long-developing routes. This is to mitigate the effect of a bad block by the RB, who will generally be overmatched and thus, prone to bad blocks.
Borges isn't calling these protections because he wants to. This is what I've said from day 1. His job is hard because this line is so bad. The issue being discussed here is a perfect example of that. This protection is the easiest one to teach and execute. So we are using it a ton. And we are still fucking it up. Funk is failing, Borges is failing, the players are failing, the offense is failing. We all agree.
The good thing is that these discussion are a) not stupid, b) fun, c) extremely pertinent to the real issues that this team faces. It is way more worthwhile to have these threads than the ones that complain about pressers. This is the stuff you want to use to make your claim that a coach should be fired. Sharpen your knowledge in threads luke these and you'll get these moron coaches out of here in no time.
A DT? Double team?
If you have Fitz simply helping, that's 2 blockers for 1 defender, and either someone else is free or you're in max protect and the D is playing coverage, which happened when Devin was sitting back there for days with 2 or 3 receivers trying to get open against 6 or 7 pass defenders.
I don't have as much problem with assigning Fitz or Green to do it, but asking them to do it so many times a game by living in 3rd and long.
Thanks Steve Sharik, given what you said, is this also on Gardner and the receivers then? Should there have been a hot route that Gardner hit faster knowing Fitz would be one-on-one with a LB/DE tearing upfield?
....I personally wouldn't be doing slide with three rookies at G-C-G and poor pass blockers at RB. I would be pure man (aka big-on-big or pop-dual), which is simple: you block the DL over you. If you're uncovered, you look for stunters and blitzers from inside-out. The RB is responsible for any blitzing LB to his side who is unaccounted for, also inside-out. It's hard on the guards when they're uncovered and then they have to pop out to pick up overhang defenders blitzing off the edge with speed, but then the QB has a huge pocket to step up into and big-time running lanes to scramble into (a particular strength of Devin's).
Also, I'd be doing a lot of 3-step and sprint-out on early downs. High percentage throws and run/pass options for Devin. No way any defense in this league (or maybe any) could cover double slants from Gallon and Funchess. The only way you take that away is by playing zone D with OLBs and safeties getting into passing lanes. Boom, there's your softer box in which to run. But you have to throw those routes a lot to give enough tendency info to the opposing coaches to get them to honor it.
Lastly, the best blitz beaters are screens, as evidenced by the ones to Fitz and Funchess. Hoke claimed those types of things only work once, and can't be repeated. Well, it's worth trying to repeat more than non-functional manball runs into defenses where everyone outside of the corners and free safety are screaming downhill.
Mind-boggling why they weren't doing these things since after the Penn State game. Also mind-boggling that they either don't self-scout or think they're good enough to outplay obvious tendency give-aways.
Though I think I'd stick to more throws to the sideline, smash routes and those types of concepts so DG isn't forced to try to read those undercutting defenders as much.
Just have a segment every week with comments disabled?
Can you two be our new OL coach and OC? You can duel (not to the death though) or play RPS to determine who gets which.
But seriously, it's nice to hear you conceding that the coaches are calling dumb plays and suggesting smarter plays.
i was saying this from day 1 in 2011 with borges. it was obvious that denard had issues with all of his reads. so why not just give him one or two. and if it's not there, take off and run. he obviously was coached not to run but to stay in the pocket. roll-out passes should have been a staple in the offense from day 1 with denard or devin. borges just ain't that bright. he thought he could turn denard into tom brady and he still thinks he can do the same with devin.
Denard was coached to take off and scramble more. That's why the coaches always talked about it. Denard was supposed to have first read, second read, run, just like Devin is supposed to have this year. There was frustration on the coaches part that he didn't scramble more often or earlier at times.
And Borges did want a lot of roll out passes for Denard. Those are staples of a west-coast offense, but more than that he wanted them to give Denard easier reads and shorter throws while utlizing his run threat. If you go back to UTL 1 and that first season you'll see quite a few roll outs, and then if you look at the UFRs you'll see quite a bit of Brian saying (rightfully) Denard can't throw on the run. He couldn't get the mechanics down, partially because of his lack of pure arm strength in my opinion, so he tried to over throw it, and he still struggled with reads (which is why both Borges and Rich Rod tried to simplify the passing schemes for him and installed non-read based QB runs).
you could be right. i just remember thinking there were scores of times where denard could have took off but didn't; assumed he was coached to stay in the pocket. i thought he could have been a better version of randel el back there.
I thought they had mixed man blocking in early on and Kalis may have had some struggles with it. Why they changed to more gap or zone after they took Kalis out of the starting lineup I have no idea.
The interior players were having trouble picking up the rushers coming from the 2nd level, so they switched to a gap scheme.
Regarding dual-pop schemes: they put a lot of pressure on the guards, and the guards are our weakness. As much as I like the idea of big on big and keeping it "simple", do we really want the Bosches and Magnusons and Kalises deciding when to leave Glasgow alone on the nose? Do we want them setting deep and having them read inside-out on the 2nd level? I would hate to see Bosch trying to get behind Lewan and pick up an edge blitzer. One could say, "It can't be worse," and one might be right. I'm just not sure. If I were the coaches, my first hunch would be to run a lot of these full slides, as they should hold up long enough to get to the three-step drop so that the Gallon-Funchess double slants could work.
I dunno. There doesn't seem to be a great option, protection-wise, for this line. And they don't seem to want to go to a primarily 3-step drop offense, for seemingly decent reasons. First, changing your offense mid-season is a risk. Second, Gardner doesn't seem to be a great pre-snap identifier of defenses, nor a great quick read guy. The line is very poor, but out of the 16 sacks in the past two games, I'd guess 6-8 have been on him. He's not getting the three-step throws out quickly enough. The coverage might account for some. His confidence is certainly lacking, and its understandable because he could get killed on any play. Its a vicious cycle right now. Yeesh.
Ups to OP for intelligent questions and for summoning Space Coyote
I'd argue that it does matter, for a few reasons. First, because it does. Second, because it is football, and football is important to us. Third, because knowledge is good. Do you want to Fire Borges? If so, this gives you real things to discuss (what kind of fat retard calls slide protections on five step drops?, etc) rather than giving vague "play-calling" complaints and arguments over the importance of truthfulness at press conferences.
In short, this stuff is what comprises the plays that are being called when we are complaining about play calling. Its good to have a bit of an understanding. So when we hire the next guy that we eventually want to fire, we will know what his tendencies are. This might even help us decide if he is predictable or not.
If it doesn't matter how it's happening, then how do you fix it? How is being ignorant to the reasons behind failure a thing that doesn't matter? If you want to learn something, get better at something, have knowledge in your discussions, why matters. I'm not just talking football here, that's a life skill.
Space I have two questions for you
1. Given that our changes at center & guard have most certainly NOT worked out for the better, why do you think the coaches havent made the switch back? Kalis & Miller were doing way better than this IMO.
2. Damn it. I had a great second question but for the life I cant remember it now.
Now I remember....given that we've got a pretty good defense it would seem to me that they would be killing these plays in practice cause everybody else does. Why do you think Hoke doesnt see this and do something about it? I cant believe a Mattison defense would struggle against a Borges offense.
Regarding question 2, I asked Heiko about this in a thread last week. Heiko did ask Mattison about this. (Not taking credit for Heiko asking, just pointing out that at least myself and Heiko thought similar things last week) Mattison's response was that he was so busy trying to get the defense to play their best he didn't have time to worry about the offense. Now I don't believe that for one second. Most experienced coaches are naturally team oriented and would not withhold info from another coach if they thought it would help the team win. My bet is, Mattison and. Hoke have noticed it, there's just not much they can do about it. Sighs...
1. I don't think they were much better. I discussed this at quite a bit of length in the link in my signiture (a couple sections down).
2. I guess I'm confused here a bit. Are you talking about seeing pass pro issues, tendency issues, play selection issues? Trying to figure out how to answer this question without trying to answer all those because that woud be a bit long-winded. Sorry for the confusion.
Edit: be careful how you answer this, it's for point 14,000!
LOL....I guess all of the above. I have to believe that our offense does just as poorly in practice as they do in games. Which leads me to wonder what's happening in practice.
You're a coach and I used to coach. I know that plays that we ran in practice that worked against our defense were generally used and plays that failed were never used. So I have to belive, on some level, that the defense is being told to hold back and not destroy the play in practice. Or something.
it just makes no sense to me that the blocking assignments (or lack thereof) arent just as visable on Tuesday as they are on Saturday.
I'm not sure if I clarified that or not.
To be honest, I really don't want to go over each of those things independently because it would take a lot of time. I think some of the "tipping" issues are being overstated. It certainly isn't that Michigan isn't above tendencies, and as I've said, they likely lean on tendencies a bit more than some others because of youth at the TE position mostly, but it's not to an extreme degree.
As for the defense holding up, I don't see that. The coaches on that side of the ball are trying to improve them too. They have enough things to work on and get better at that it would do them a complete disservice to hold them back.
I think some of it is probably true with regards to what Hoke says. I do bet they are executing better in practice than they are in the heat of the game. That's to be expected of young players. I'm also guessing they just aren't very good in practice either.
I dunno, without getting long winded it's a tough question to answer. I certainly know Borges doesn't enjoy running head first into a brick wall. But he also understands that this team more than almost any other team can't afford to be one-dimensional. God forbid you let a defense pin it's ears back completely (the little amount more compared to what they're doing already). I dunno, I can't excuse it all, because I don't agree with it all. And I think they all see the issues at OL. I just don't know what they can do about it besides keep repping it and keep throwing them out there and trying to get them better. I don't think they can do much else at this point anyway.
Sorry I can't give a better answer right now, I feel like you deserve a better one, honestly. But without getting more into it, I just can't do it.
Space Coyote, you are the man! Love reading your detailed posts here and at MGoBrew. I love hearing guys take your posts and simply reply, "fuck that, tired of excuses, rabble rabble rabble!" And they talk about denial. Everything has causes, and they are what they are for Michigan right now.
Curious what you think about my idea about Hoke's dogmatic determination to get these young OLinemen to learn by doing rating than trying to hide them with quirky schemes. I feel like he would be doing the program a long term disservice if he didn't just give them a baptism by fire.
This dude right here. This dude is the most positive dude. Respect.
But there also is some maybe not so truths to it. Basically since this coaching staff took over, the vast majority of the plays have been Power blocking. From the inverted veer to a lot of the QB runs, it's all been power blocking. So they've been running with that for the most part from the start.
Now, I don't think they are going to switch everything they do and are trying to build for simply to hide the OL (which is hard enough to do anyway). Some people seem to be calling for that, but I don't think it's realistic. You can't completely abandon what you're trying to work to one year and say "we'll come back to it next year when we have time", because then you never get there, you never learn.
I believe it was you that said something about "this usually happening in practice but Hoke doesn't have that luxery". I thought that was spot on. Michigan would be running this if they had more experienced players and at that time people would be begging for these guys to be in the game because the next guy is always better. "The 2nd string QB is always the best player on the team... until he plays." They were bound to get some trial by fire, you can't really get around it realistically. Now, it's unfortunate that it has to be in real game action, but hopefully it makes them improve faster than they otherwise would.
So like I said, I think there is some to a lot of truth in what you're saying, but I don't think this off season came and they simply flipped a switch and decided it was time to go to their desired offense.
If this is true, what is the rationale for taking Kalis out and moving Magnusson to gaurd? If the coaches were trying to balance between the best chance for winning today with preparing for the future, I would think you would move Schofield inside and let Magnusson run at tackle. The coaches are still trying to get Kalis reps via the 6 lineman formations they continue to play. So it seems like they are trying to develop players for next year. I know you have addressed this, it seems like the coaches are still searching for the most "optimal" solution for this year.
It's a trial by fire, but certainly they still want to win now. Mags was and probably is the better pass protector and probably has been a bit better at doing his assignments correctly, which is why he got out there.
I don't think the 6 OL thing is as much about getting another O-linemen reps as it was trying to find another player that can actually block. This goes for both the run and pass game. They were trying to simplify things for others (like the young TEs) and hoping that would help out the RBs a bit. It's had mixed results, as you well know.
I think people are impatient and demand winning now...which...unfortunately, is not realistic. It may have been a perfect storm that created all of this. Unfortunately, the storm seems to be raging back to the days of tressel getting hired, Lloyd "leaving the cupboard bare", transitioning out of the spread, and now youth at the oline. Argh.
My philosophy though is, unless we can nab some super high profile OC /O line coach, I think we hang tough and just ride it out. A change in offense with terminology changes etc. is likely going to set us back even more. If we can't develop these great oline recruits into something by '15....and I mean a team that can flat lay the WOOD to sparty, and Ohio...well then, we are 'effed..and the storm rages on.
He is Rich Kotite.
What difference does it make?
Thanks for the reply SC!
I really like what you said elsewhere about this being a very hard offense to stop when the OL play is better. I've been think all season that if the OL could just become average, making the play action effective, with DG's skills it could be deadly. Obviously that's not happened, and likely won't. But, DG and everyone will learn from their mistakes and be better for the struggle.
I am a firm believer is the power and utility of failure as a learning tool. Being given permission try and fail is essential for growth. I think so many people fear failure so much that they don't want to even try, being satisfied with keeping safe. I think that is what upsets me most about people that deride these young kids. They're out there with everyone watching, trying and failing, but whether amateurs see it or not, they're getting a careers worth of learning in one season. I think that is why many times you see the younger brother in a family of brothers being the one that excels the most athletically. He was beat up, held down, and failed to beat his bigger brothers his whole life as a kid. That willingness to fight through adversity is what makes champions, not necessarily winning immediately. But, sadly, that doesn't cut it in our sound bite instant gratification society many times. Someone is always at fault and must pay for failure.
I'm excited for these kids going forward, and it will be all the more satisfying when they reach their potential.
when you haven't done any learning.
When Michigan's offense shows it can look like something resembling a very bad offense instead of an absolute dumpster fire, then praise them.
Right now, I see an offense that has been bad all season and has continued to get worse. Failute can be a learning experience, but the key word in there is CAN and it certainly didn't look like anyone learned anything the last 2 weeks. Right now, it's just failure, and if you fail at a high level, expect to be criticized.
You're right, they haven't learned yet, but this is certainly a very real learning opportunity. That must be taken advantage of for this to become in anyway a positive in the long run. But if they are pushed to believe that, then there is a very real likelihood that they do learn a lot from it.
Would it be any different if you had expected them to be horrible from the beginning? I'd be willing to bet that if one were to have had a brutally candid conversation with Hoke and Borges preseason about the offensive expectations they would have said not to expect much because of the OL situation. Now, I think they are shocked at just how inept they are, and most assuredly some of that falls on coaching. But, youth and simple L.O.F.T. obviously is part of the equation.
I am not saying that we have to praise them, although I'll bet they would appreciate some public good vibes. Hoke is in a very precarious spot here with the OL. He has to give them tough and send message to the team that this kind of performance is not acceptable to Michigan. But, he also needs to show the OL some TLC, if you will, so as to not shatter whatever shred of confidence is still in tact and make their failures into learning experiences. Coaches have to be master psychologists, and it's going to be interesting to see if Hoke & Co. are up to the task. I think they are, and unfortunately for Funk, I think maybe his pink slip is going to be used as a tool to tell the OL that it's not their fault entirely. Maybe, maybe not.
I just wish Borges could work with DG and his slot receivers on some quick timing passes. IF DG in the shotgun he should get a couple seconds no matter what the line is doing. The OC should make these defenses pay for what they are doing against us.
Do you feel there needs to be a change in coaching? As you stated earlier it seems the message/coaching just isn't hitting home.
Is that there should probably be a change at the OL coaching position. Now, again, I'm not in practice, I'm not seeing if these guys just aren't transferring the ability to play on Saturdays, if they are going over the same things over and over and still just not getting it at all and have no self-respect (Ron English complaint) or what. But I kind of doubt it's from a lack of effort or caring. So to me, something isn't getting through with Funk's teaching methods, which from an outsiders POV seems like a coaching change is probably appropriate.
All you coaches, and especially SpaceCoyote -
A huge thank you for taking so much time and educating this line play moron. This has been incredibly enlightening and part of what makes me keep reading MGoBlog.
Your point about the teaching methods and techniques used hits home. It's a complex blend of confidence in the larger scheme, confidence in themselves, and confidence in their teammates' abilities to understand what they need to do that has to condemn the current coaching staff. Watching Lewan come over after the second series, point the young ones to the bench, and scream WTF is happening at them was brutal.
I'm just wanting to put back on my rose-colored glasses...
As a piggie back question, do you think it's time for Fred Jackson to retire? Given how little running room the RB's have has I realize that it's hard to assess his performance as a coach, but I don't think I'm alone in feeling like Michigan RB's seem to be leaving a lot of potential and talent on the sideline while other teams keep finding guys that seem to have some pop in their games. Mike Hart comes to mind, as does Tyrone Wheatly. Any thoughts?
If anything, the worst thing is the lack of blocking development from the RB level. I see little improvements in them. Little improvements in their footwork, how they sink their hips, etc. But, to some degree you're kind of right, none have seemed to make a jump. I don't know if he's just not into as much, getting worn out, or what, but I think he'll retire within the next few seasons at the longest (I wouldn't be surprised if it was after this season).
Wheatley would be a great hire. I'm not sure it happens though. If he has hire aspirations, such as moving up to an OC or something, he's likely better off staying as an NFL RB coach and moving straight to an OC job at some level, if not the NFL level. So moving back would have to require some sort of new title (assistant head coach) and at least equal pay. But he would be a great hire, and not just because he's a Michigan man.
Hart has seen some success from the RB position at EMU, but I still have questions for him. Hart was a great on-field leader, but in many ways I question the off-field character and how that translates to the coaching profession. He could be good, he could be viable, but I think they would have to really look at him and see if he's truly a fit.
I think beyond Wheatley, that's what it'll come down to. They interview and search a few areas and really take a strong look at fit within the program, coaching abilities, and things of that nature. They may move Manning over to RBs and hire a different position coach. So there is some flexibility there.
Vincent Smith was on this team last year and his technique was excellent. Fred didn't just forget how to coach pure only coach certain guys. Some guys just don't want to do the dirty work, and most freshmen just have their heads spinning out there.
But, it is a bit concerning that Fitz's technique is so poor and that they don't have a non-FR that can pass block (Hayes, Rawls, a FB (I don't know if TE coach or Jackson is taking them in this instance)).
This should have been a basic part of our offensive scheme this year from the very beginning. It doesn't require a very young interior OL to sustain blocks for slow-developing downfield patterns, and it also can put DG out into space on the edges where his running ability is particularly dangerous.
I agree it's not from lack of effort or caring but there just seems to be a huge disconnect and the players aren't getting it. Your rational and insightful responses are appreciated. Meant in response to Space's answer.
Great thread. To build on the questions about Michigan tipping their plays (or not), what do our resident coaches think about the suggestion that Michigan's offense isn't built in a way to punish defenses for selling out to stop likely plays? So maybe we don't tip our specific play every time, but we aren't prepared to exploit defenses for attacking our tendencies in unsound ways.
I'm a poker player by trade. A key concept in poker is that every bet needs to have the possibility of being a strong hand or a bluff. So a bet with a certain hand might not be bad in itself, but if you're not capable of making the same bet with a balanced range of hands, a good opponent can exploit your strategy.
Is something similar happening with our offensive strategy? That is, our individual plays are not bad, but our overall strategy allows the opponent to attack us in an effective way a high % of the time?
Young linemen could be tipping run/pass with their stances. Young linemen could be not knowledgeable enough to run all the schemes because of all the line calls that have to be made. There may simply not be enough talent to run certain schemes that an offense would ordinarily run (e.g., inside zone). (By the way, I personally find it ludicrous to try outside zone as a switch up with really young players. Zone gurus run nothing but, and that's ask they practice because they feel it takes that much repetition and if you're good at it you don't need any other scheme.)
I haven't watched film, nor do I have a playbook with which to answer these questions. At no point had this staff had a roster that would allow them to fully implement scheme on either side of the ball.
That was a long way of saying that only time will tell.
ask = all
My life-long friend and I both matriculated to, and graduated from, UM in early 70’s. We both have professional degrees. My grandfather/father were/are UM grads with professional degrees.
Now my friend has a theory, which we admit we cannot definitely prove, that Space Coyote’s real identity likely is none other than Al Borges.
Having read and gleaned from numerous threads his defense of UM coaching in copious respects, of Borges’s PSU game strategy, particularly end-of-game PSU strategy, almost all things MSU, and now regarding Nebraska on various topics, I must say that I suspect my friend and game-day watching buddy is right.
I’m not getting into any logic debate with these two, er…., this guy, though. I’ve experienced enough losing this year, several times even while winning. I say, “IF we are wrong, and we very well could be, then to dispel all doubt, bring forth the evidence!!!” If we are right, then we say many questions regarding to what is happening on Saturdays finally has a plausible explanation. Can you just imagine, then, what it took for them, er… Borges, to stay abreast of all the blogging developments? No man, even with his experiences and training, could then put 11 Michigan Men in spaces where 11 non-Michigan Men were NOT within well-defined territorial boundaries, even if they could “execute”. Or, in the case of blockers, put them were the non-Michigan Men were, or were expected to be given past locations of a somewhat repetitive nature.
If Al Borges is out there, then let him reveal himself. If he is not, and “change is gonna come” is but a truism for life rather than Michigan Man offensive philosophy and production, then maybe the lyrics to the MSU fight song are more clever than they first appear.
... A case of schizophrenia, with a twist of psychological projection. So, you and your "life-long friend" are actually the same person, and you're projecting that duality onto Space Coyote.
We're onto you, YoR2 (or, should I say, "you are two"). You can't get away with these shenanigans in a "post-Beautiful-Mind" era.
Substance D addiction.
Nah. My friend exists. We grew up together as acolytes in the same church. YoR2 stands for "Year of Revenge" my father dubbed the year after Burt Smith, MSU AD, voted for Ohio State to go to Rose Bowl instead of UM. 2 just meant I was the succeeding generation. Inventive and clever comment you had though, but I hope you didn't lose the true point of the post. My bad if that was the case, but I wanted to be as gentle as I could out of respect.
We had another theory that someone whose last name was "Orges" made a big play at the Mirage window on PSU gameday, but we were just joking, kind of like this one.
I like how there are actual coaches in here dropping actual football knowledge and you've still got a great deal of MGoIdiots trying to argue with them even though it's clear to everyone involved they have no idea what they are talking about.
Such is internet.
Kudos to the peeps who are actually asking good questions though, and much respect to all of our resident coaches for providing excellent insight and answers.
Great that you are connected well enough to profess to speak for "everyone" even when hurling invenctives.
So who were you before you were banned?
I suppose that conclusory and argumentative question is your way of attacking me, but even so I'll tell you this is my first account and posts ever, on any blog much less this one. Just had an opinion I tried to share as humorously and respectfully as I could yet share the opinion. I can get a great deal more direct when I must, but I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion in this brotherhood hopefully, and mine is not necessarily gospel.