I haven't had a chance to rewatch the game, but my impression from the stands was that Mike Shaw barely saw the field when Denard was in, but was at least 50/50 if not the primary back once Forcier came in. Any coach types have any insight on that? My casual guess would be that it must have something to do with blocking on the designed QB runs. Is Smith that much better as a lead blocker on those plays? Obviously the straight QB runs are going to be much less frequent when Tate is in.
Running Back Usage
You're right. Vincent Smith is a much better blocker and is better utilized on designed runs for the most part.
the RB gets more than 3 yards a carry. I saw RR yelling at Shaw when he broke a few over that limit.
Every time Smith gets his typical 1-3 yards he gets a pat on the back and the coaches yell at Hopkins and Shaw to be more like VS.
Don't see what you did you there. It was simply...unfunny.
And smith did very very well yesterday. He had a 5.6 ypc compared to shaws 4.9 ypc.
That's because of the goal line runs by Shaw. You even mention that below. You must be confused.
Smith averaged over 5 ypc and it was probably the best game by a rb as our rbs all looked good yesterday. There is no reason to bag on smith.
Booooo! Way to rag on a guy from Pahokee who is giving his all out on the field for the Wolverines.
Good to see the Vincent Smith hate alive and well. How dare he almost put up 100 total yards in a critical BIg 10 game.
You sir are an ass. And the submit button is not your friend.
Man, you're starting to wear me out. I think you should shut down this account and open a new one entitled: I_am_a_huge_bandwagon_fan_with_an_overinflated_sense_of_my_own_wit.
I was always under the impression that Shaw was our best blocking RB.
Perhaps with his injury the coaches don't want him ramming himself into defenders on purpose, and prefer to use whatever he can give them running the ball when he might be able to avoid heavy contact?
Although i noticed that the running backs got more carries with Tate, i am not at all concerned about this. Denard is probably the most exciting player in the country with the ball in his hands. So im ok with Denard not handing it off as often, the only thing that concerns me is the durability issue with Denard carrying the ball so much.
...that said, can anyone explain to me the lack of using Hopkins, especially when Forcier was in? Should be an easier package with Forcier, less confusion...and there were many times that Hopkins looked like the best back we have.
I was very happy with shaw getting those goal line carries
I like Hopkins probably because I am over 50 and he looks more like an old-school running back to me than Smith does. I think he has a better frame, is harder to take down, and with more reps, he could be our lead RB.
Having said that, I look forward to see what Dee Hart will bring to the table next year. If we can have a threat with the RB, the QB and the WR/SR, we are going to be even harder to defend.
Meh, I'm 28 and I love seeing Hopkins run with the ball. Of course, Tyrone Wheatley is my all-time favorite Wolverine. On topic, I am surprised how little that Hopkins sees the field. He was able to run successfully on Saturday.
The only thing that I can guess, is that the coaches don't trust Hopkins with blocking assignments (which could get your QB killed) or that he struggles with ball security in practice.
I know that they are really good friends off the field. Maybe there is a chemistry thing there?
are in the "1st team", Tate and Shaw probably work together a lot with the 2s.
jblaze nailed it. If you spend all week (and pretty much all season) having Forcier hand off to Shaw in practice, that is who you have him hand the ball to in a game. This might be different if there was a big difference talent and production wise between Shaw and Smith, but there isn't. So, in a tight game in which you already have 5 turnovers, stick with the option that gives you the most confidence in ball security.
I didn't think of it that way. +1 to you, and I wish I could +1 the coaches. Either way, I was glad to see Shaw out there. He's the potential game-breaker, IMO. (But catch the damn ball, please.)
Eh . . . I don't know. I'm not sure it works that way with tailbacks. They share practice reps on the first-team offense. It may be more that Shaw (who hadn't seen major PT in weeks because of his injury) simply demonstrated to the staff that he was 100%, and so they went with him down the stretch.
One thing I noticed, especially it looked like at the beginning of the third they went with a two RB formation where they lined up Hopkins in the background next to Dernard and switched in VS and Shaw. On every run from that formation they ran to either with anybody that wasn't Denard Robingson they picked up about 7 yards.
I have nothing more relevant to add to this conversation than that. But I remember seeing this formation last year and liked it, and I think this is the first time I saw it this year, and really only during one drive.
Smith and Shaw bring different things to the game. Watching the game closely, Smith is an excellent blocker. He routinely picks up pressure and buys Denard extra time to throw or run. Shaw, on the other hand, looks much more likely to break off a big run. He is more of a speed back. With Denard, there is less of a need for speed and more of a need for blocking. With Tate in, Shaw represents more of the speed that we lose from Denard's absence.
I think that this largely explains the difference in usage. (By the way, Shaw is also a very solid blocker, but if you really focus on just this aspect of the game, Smith is superior, IMO).
Anyone else feel that Shaw looked like a more decisive runner on Saturday than he has in the past? He seemed to be 1 cut and head up field. Plus he seemed to run with more power than he has in the past, kinda channeling a bit of Minor RAGE.
I didn't notice a difference between Shaw and his past performances, but I think, without question he looks way more decisive than Smith.
I don't think Smith has anything in the blocking department over Shaw. Shaw is just as good - if not better - than Smith as a blocker on those quarterback isos.
It might be that Forcier/Shaw work together more than any other combo, or it might be that the coaches are concerned about Shaw getting dinged up again. But regardless, I don't think it has anything to do with Smith being a more capable back than Shaw.
Great to see RB's get more carries and yards. Should help DR stay healthy and be more effective if there is a true RB threat. Is Hopkins knee ok?
With D. Robinson, D. Hart, and Hopkins....our running game is gonna be scary for the next few yrs!
Not only the backfield but an experienced OL. Explosive.
imo none of our backs run like the greats we have had in the backfield. i have seen some flashes of not wanting to go down but nothing like we have seen in the past! i do not know what to attribute that to. i believe atleast shaw and smith and possibly hopkins (i remember the announcers yesterday saying that hopkins has the speed as well as agility and size to be a special back at michigan) will be average to above average backs but not great! we just have not landed THAT back in the last several recruiting classes! maybe it is hart we will have to see, maybe fitz is that back if healthy? i hope in the last three reg season games we will find out more and then have the extra practices for bowl time and then spring! this offense will not be complete without THAT back! Go Blue beat purdue!