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Before we start, the play table below has multiple references to a "5-3-1-7 tech split." This is what is meant by that:
Note the alignment of the defensive line: Three players lined up basically over the tackle (5), guard (3), and center (1) to the side of the play a zone read will come, no one over the nominally weakside guard, one DE split extremely wide (7) on the nominal weakside. The goal here is clear: defeat the zone read by overloading the area of the line where the running back's hole is supposed to be while leaving a wide-split DE to handle the QB.
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|Michigan twists its DTs, giving Minnesota an opportunity to seal Taylor; Ezeh comes up and is blocked out of the play by the guard; an unblocked CGraham(-1) misses a tackle, turning two yards into five.|
|O25||2||5||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||12||Zone read handoff|
|Michigan in what Colin's described as 5-3-1-7 tech in an effort to stop the zone run; Minnesota motions the tailback to the other side of the line and flips the play, running directly at the huge gap on what was, until moments ago, the backside of the formation. Taylor(-1) is cut to the ground uselessly; BG actually does a really nice job of defeating a double and flowing down the line but as he gets to the POA he's held or stumbles or something and Bennett shoots past him. Both linebackers are crushed by blockers with excellent angles. Englemon(-1) misses a tackle, providing another three yards at the end of the play.|
|Weber throws it well over his receiver's head. I can't tell whether Harrison was going to cut this down or get cut inside of. Maybe credit Crable for reading this and backing off such that Weber had to loft it long? Sure. +1.|
|O37||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-1||Zone read handoff|
|Taylor(+1) stands up his guy, driving him a couple yards back. A blitzing CGraham(+1) tackles from behind thanks to the delay caused by Taylor.|
|O36||3||11||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Wheel|
|A twist gets Ezeh in totally unblocked, as a Harrison blitz from the same side occupies the back. Weber gets rid of it in time, finding a marginally open receiver; Warren(+1) hits him as the ball arrives. Moot point as it had already glanced off his fingertips. (Pressure +1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 13 min 1st Q. Bill Curry's already mistaken Shawn Crable for Will Johnson mere minutes after saying "Ironically, Minnesota has a good offense and could move the ball." I've heard people misuse "irony" from sea to shining sea and never has it been so spectacular. Thank you, Bill Curry.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||9||Zone read handoff|
|Our "please gash us" formation. Crable lined up over a slot receiver, threatening blitz; three DL with Ezeh sticking his nose in as a threatened blitzer next to Taylor. He comes; the C and G double Taylor, sealing him, as Jamo runs himself upfield and out of the play. CGraham unwisely blitzes away from where the zone read play will go if they hand it off, which they do, and there is no chance Michigan stops this. Very poor scheme on this play â€“ I think the lack of wisdom here is not on the part of any of the players.|
|O29||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|Another DT twist means neither is in a position to do much at the snap. Linebackers are useless; CGraham(-1) meekly blocked out of the play, ending up on the ground; Crable(+1) sets up well and disconnects to make an important tackle as the RB passes.|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read draw|
|This is not a true zone read, as the pulling tackle reveals this is going to be a QB keeper all the way. I might need to diversify my nomenclature here. Anyway, Johnson fights inside in an attempt to get to the RB, who doesn't have the ball, opening up a hole. Ezeh(-1) is very late reading this, getting plowed by the pulling tackle.|
|O41||2||2||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|5-3-1-7 tech splits; this time Minnesota does not adjust to it and runs directly at it, probably because our linebackers are slanted to the backside. Bennett manages to squeeze through a hole between Johnson and Taylor, but only just barely. No linebacker help again; Bennett is grabbed by the legs and manages to fall forward.|
|O44||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||24||PA Post|
|A zone read fake into play action; well blocked by Minnesota and a post comes open over the middle. CGraham didn't actually bite on this and got into his drop; this is just a good play all around from Minnesota. (Pressure -1, cover -1)|
|M32||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||14||Zone read keeper|
|Crable(-2) gives up contain.|
|Nominally, anyway, as the RB takes a step outside before coming back inside; a pulling tackle and guard head for the backside hole. (We are again in 5-3-1-7.) Subtly, Taylor(+1) makes a play, sidestepping a cut and forcing the tackle, blocking down and leaving the DE and LB to the pullers, to deal with him. Thompson makes a barely adequate tackle, allowing a couple YAC.|
|M14||2||6||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read draw|
|Same play as earlier in the drive. Crable(+2) defeats a block and tackles after a minimal gain.|
|M12||3||4||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read rollout|
|Play action; Weber rolls out; Jamo(+1) up in Weber's face, forcing an early throw and maybe deflecting the pass. Yes, he got it. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(29), 0-3, 6 min 1st Q. A lot of poor scheming gets Michigan players in no place to make a stop; one excellent pitch and catch from
Minnesota and a blown contain gets the Gophers in field goal range.
|O41||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Assume 5-3-1-7 splits unless otherwise noted at this point. Taylor(+2) is the NT here; they run right at the massive gap; Taylor gets his man a couple yards in the backfield and makes a tackle as the RB passes. This is the sort of thing we haven't seen from him enough.|
|Similar to a number of plays last week where Michigan linebackers flew out of zone coverage to deal with running backs on little flares; this time Ezeh moves out, opening a hole in the zone for the slant. (Cover -1)|
|M48||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pen||-5||False start|
|Ezeh(+1) reads this, flying up into the passing lane; Weber throws it away. (Cover +1)|
|O47||2||15||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-3||QB Draw|
|RB motions out; empty look. Both Crable(+1) and Jamison(+1) beat their men to the inside instead of rushing up around them; Weber has no chance; BGraham also comes in to help after a DT twist.|
|O44||3||18||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Deep out|
|Blitz does not quite get there as Weber fires the ball quickly on an out in front of Warren. It's short-hopped; there was the potential for a completion here but it was a narrow window. (Pressure +1.) Minnesota called for a chop block, Michigan takes the penalty.|
|O29||3||33||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Johnson(+1) does an excellent job flowing down the line to tackle; BGraham(+1) cut off the outside.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 2 min 1st Q. Some help from Minnesota via the penalty, but a good series.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. Good push from Johnson(+1); Taylor gets pushed down the line a bit, slipping on the turf, but manages to grab a foot as the RB cuts back; Crable shuts him down after keeping contain.|
|First part of the play missed. Harrison(+2) jets in, fending of a blocker to chop this down in the backfield. Thompson(+1) also out there to help after a quick read.|
|O20||3||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||7||WR Screen|
|Fake RB screen to the topside of the screen; they got to Wheelwright at the bottom. Warren(+1) gets cut but gets up and manages to force Wheelwright out of bounds short of the sticks.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, EO 1st Q.|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||13||Zone read counter|
|A more convincing counter that looks like your traditional zone read but for a pulling guard; Minnesota is again attacking the big gap between the 1 and 7 technique DL. We are one blocked CGraham away from giving up a big gain; CGraham(-1) is blocked and we give up a big gain.|
|O44||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||TE Seam|
|Bennett motions out; Weber pump fakes a screen to him, then goes deeper. Harrison is our designated guy to freak out on these and he does; everyone else stays with their assignments. CGraham(+1) gets a bump on the TE, knocking him off his route and making this pass look wildly inaccurate. Even without the bump it's probably still IN; as it is it's ridiculously overthrown. (Cover +1)|
|O44||2||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||WR Screen|
|Weber throws it wide.|
|O44||3||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||14 (pen)||Skinny post|
|The Warren pass interference. The replays given aren't particularly good, but this looks like excellent coverage to me. No punishment doled out.|
|M42||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. BGraham(+1) beats his guy; can't make the tackle but does slow the back in the backfield. The center never got out on CGraham, and we all know that when you don't block CGraham he can spear you. This he does.|
|M41||2||9||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||2||QB Draw|
|Excellent play by Johnson(+1) to disconnect and tackle; CGraham(+1) dodges a block and knocks the ball loose from a falling Weber. Michigan recovers.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 3-10, 9 min 2nd Q.|
|O31||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Zone read PA|
|Adams at the LOS as if he is going to blitz, but he bails at the snap as Michigan drops into zone. This may confuse Weber, who tosses it into coverage. Initial bite by Ezeh(+1) but he recovers well, getting in the passing lane and deflecting the ball. (Cover +1)|
|Same play as the first counter. TE and guard pull around in an effort to attack the backside. Crable(+1) crashes in, removing any crease at the intended POA; cutback. Johnson(+1) avoids a cut block and tackles.|
|O33||3||8||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Out|
|Taylor(+1) defeats his man and crushes Weber as he throws; ball is low as a result and into tight coverage from Warren(+1). The ball is dropped; Decker wants a flag. No sale. No, check that. On replay Warren comes around from the bottom to knock it away. Great play. (Cover +1, pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 6-10, 5 min 2nd Q. Warren is officially good, kids.|
|We basically miss this play talking to Rece Davis. But Jamison(+1) knocks the ball down. (Pressure +1)|
|Crable flies upfield on an edge rush but gets pushed past the quarterback; Weber steps up. Jamison(+1) makes an edge rush of his own, then pushes the OT away and collapses down on Weber, hitting him as he throws and forcing an incompletion. (Pressure +1)|
|Harrison blitzes, so does Graham. The tackle on that side has blocked down on the DE, leaving just one running back to attempt to take on both blitzers. CGraham(-1) manages to get pushed by the RB and allows Weber to escape; he keeps his eyes down and attempts to run; Jamison and Ezeh(+1) put an end to that. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 2 min 1st Q.|
|O21||1||10||???||Nickel?||Run||20||Zone read something|
|We miss the beginning portion of this play looking at Tim Brewster; as we come back Will Johnson(-1) has been pancaked and both linebackers (Ezeh -1, CGraham -1) are running right up the middle, getting blocked by one guy. Boom: secondary instantly and a twenty-yard run.|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. Johnson(+1) stands up his guy, driving him back a bit and disconnecting as Bennett passes; Ezeh(+1) had gotten to the guard quickly enough to also help close the hole.|
|O41||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||-4||Zone read PA|
|Weber gets the ball knocked out by his own running back; he falls on it for a loss.|
|O37||3||14||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Post|
|Weber's pass is sailed, perhaps fortunately as both these Gopher receivers are in the same area and well covered (cover +1). The pass sailed because Will Johnson(+1) drove the guard into Weber as he threw. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 11 min 3rd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||5||Speed option|
|A tough spot for the defense with no DB within eight yards of the LOS at the snap to the side the option is run. Jamison, unblocked forces a pitch; Adams attacks and gets outside, forcing the ballcarrier in; Johnson pursues and tackle. +1 Johnson.|
|O25||2||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||8||QB Draw|
|Actually a lead draw as the QB fakes a zone read handoff, then follows the running back into the hole; a guard also pulls. CGraham(-1) is met by this tiny running back and pancaked â€“ ugly, this should never happen â€“ and for a moment it looks like a big gainer until BGraham(+1) spins free of a double team and tackles. Still a good gain; could have been considerably worse.|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. I believe Johnson(+1) gets a push into the backfield here; Taylor(+1) also shoves forward. No crease; Bennett forced to cut back and leap over a prone Jamison. CGraham, unblocked, tackles him in the air.|
|O35||2||8||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||10||WR Screen|
|Nominally a 3-3-5 with Crable standing up outside the tackle. CGraham(-1) again shoved to the ground by a blocker as he overruns his spot; Warren got to the outside â€“ I think this is what Carr means by "leverage on the football" -- but the Graham failure just means there's a huge gap for him. Englemon chops him down after ten. Curry doesn't like his tackle; I agree.|
|O45||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||-5||Fumbled snap|
|And John Sullivan pays us a visit.|
|O40||2||15||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||2||QB Draw|
|Taylor(+2) pushes into the backfield, making a diving grasp at Weber's ankles that brings him down. Without that, a big gain.|
|A delayed blitz from Harrison doesn't get there; neither does anyone else. (Pressure -1). The post comes open ( cover -1); Weber underthrows it.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 5 min 3rd Q. A dispiriting drive that stops because of Minnesota mistakes and one good play from Taylor.|
|O32||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||7||WR Screen|
|Warren(+1) reads this well, shooting past a blocker; so does Johnson. Unfortunately, Johnson(-1) overruns it, allowing the WR to pick up decent yardage despite Michigan being all over this at the snap.|
|O39||2||3||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. Excellent job by Johnson(+1) to get penetration and force Bennett outside the tackles, where Adams fills at the LOS.|
|Not even a playfake? Okay. Great coverage on three short routes here (Cover +2); Weber has no place to go. BG(+1) drives his guy back, then sacks. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 20-10, 1 min 3rd Q. I feel way better about this drive than the last one.|
|O27||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Angle|
|Balanced line; the RB runs a little flat route, then cuts it inside; I used to run this all the time in NCAA. Ezeh(-1) overruns it, not even getting close enough to miss a tackle, and three yards turn into ten. (Cover -1)|
|O36||2||1||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|Balanced line. Johnson is blown back by a double team, and though he manages to split them and help tackle he's been driven a couple yards downfield and Minnesota picks up the first down. Taylor did a good job disconnecting and diving, grabbing Bennett's feet as he passes. I do agree that Taylor's played well; Bill Curry and I see eye to eye. Cats and dogs living together.|
|CGraham(+1) times a blitz perfectly, shooting up the middle unblocked and hammering Weber as he attempts to throw. (Pressure +1)|
|Ezeh(-1) fails to read this, getting blocked out of the play by a wide receiver. Warren keeps him inside; Taylor tracks him d
own from behind.
|O47||3||3||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||11||Speed option|
|Harrison(-1) is late on this one, as is Ezeh(-1); Michigan loses contain.|
|M42||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||-2||WR screen(?)|
|Not sure WTF Weber is thinking; a corner blitz from Harrison gets in unblocked (pressure +1) but instead of taking what looks like an open out from the area where Harrison vacated the zone he comes back to Wheelwright, who's run what looks like a screen route without any blockers. The throw is made, but Warren(+1) has come up hard and tackles with help from Crable for a loss.|
|All day for Weber (pressure -2); Webber throws to Decker; Englemon(+1) reads it, breaks on it, and probably should have picked it off. (Cover +1)|
|Oh, you've screwed up something when you leave Crable to be blocked by a freshman tailback. Crable(+1) goes right around him and sacks. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10 min 4th Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||8||QB Draw|
|Bennett motions out; empty look. The linebackers shift over in preparation for a screen, which Minnesota fakes; Weber takes off. Crable(-1) has been pancaked after attempting to dive inside. With the linebackers headed over to the screen fake, acres of space. Slocum and Sagesse in at DT. Rest of the first team D in.|
|O28||2||2||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||QB Draw|
|The draw they've run a couple times where a PA zone read fake turns into a lead blocker for the QB. Thompson in; does a good job with the TB; CGraham fills unblocked.|
|Warren tackles immediately after a brief gain.|
|O35||2||5||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||7||Zone read counter|
|Well... Crable gives up contain here after fighting inside to fill the hole; once Bennett bounces out he does a good job of getting back outside the tackle but his tackle attempt is stepped through and Bennett picks up seven yards. This is a tough play for him to make, all alone out there as CGraham had gotten suckered on the counter action... no minus.|
|Oh... okay, I get it. Remember the WR screen(?) on the last drive? I think the idea here is to get the CB to bite up on it, then hit the RB on a wheel route. Warren does indeed bite, opening up a spot for the wheel; Weber overthrows it. Decent recovery from Warren made this a more difficult throw. Still (-1, cover -1).|
|O42||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||TE Out|
|For some reason they decide not to block Crable at all; Weber hurried. (Pressure +1) The TE runs a little out route; Adams(+1) hits immediately. (Cover +1)|
|O46||3||6||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||9||WR Screen|
|They play off the wheel route earlier and go to an actual WR screen; this time Warren(-1) is hesitant, fearing the wheel, and Wheelwright has plenty of room. (Cover -1). Mouton has entered the game.|
|Harrison in unblocked on a blitz. (Pressure +1) A quick throw is jumped by Adams(+1), who breaks it up and nearly intercepts it. (Cover +1)|
|Harrison(+2) reads and shoots into the backfield, making a huge TFL just as the ball arrives.|
|O48||3||17||Shotgun 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||12||Stop|
|Harrison again unblocked, forcing a quick dumpoff to Wheelwright for what should be five yards. Thompson misses a tackle, and then about four Michigan players whiff, turning this into a makeable fourth down. (Pressure +1, cover -1)|
|Pass completed, but short of the sticks.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 4 min 4th Q. Chartin' over.|
So why can't we defend the zone run?
Let's take a look at the second play of the game. You may remember this picture from such locations as "the top of this post":
Balls. As you can see, Taylor's been chopped to the ground, the frontside guard has no one to even think about blocking on the first level, and Jamison is in no position to get inside the tackle. The hole gapes like Tim Brewster's... mouth after a meaningless pass on the last play of the game.
So we have a first facet of our issues against the run: sometimes our scheme gets exploited. We broke out our 3-3-5 with massive gaps between the DEs and DTs once in this game; Minnesota promptly ran for nine yards with little any Michigan player could do about it. This same formation was responsible for a lot of the ugliness against the Northwestern run game. It makes no the sense.
It's times like these that I wish I could see into the heads of the coaches, who obviously know way more about football than I do: is there some way in which this defense can stand up to interior runs? Is someone not executing their job? Do they just assume that teams will pass in these situations? When Michigan has gotten opponents into must-pass situations the rampant pressure they've applied certainly justifies the use of the 3-3-5, but whenever it comes out on a plausible rushing down Michigan gets gashed. Isn't it time to shelve it?
Aspect two: the linebackers are not so good. Chris Graham did some good things in this game, but the standout memory of him in this game was one of those QB draws that came coupled with the tailback as a lead blocker. This Bennett guy is like 180 pounds or something -- tiny -- and when he met Graham in the hole he splattered him like a bug. Result: another big gainer. It has been rare indeed for any Michigan linebacker to stand up to a block and tackle.
Aspect three: The defensive tackles are not really absorbing blockers. The 5-3-1-7 wasn't so good, but when Michigan lines up in a flat front, they still get gashed because too often the DTs can't control the gaps between the guard and tackle. Often they get momentarily doubled sealed, then the guard leaps out on a linebacker.
Aspect four: Shawn Crable sometimes gives up contain on quarterbacks as the first three aspects often make his backside pursuit necessary.
That, I think, covers it. It should be noted that Michigan is now 36th in rushing defense, which is not terrible. However, a ton of sacks -- 15th nationwide -- help cover up Michigan's average-at-best run defense.
|Johnson||9||2||7||Best day of his career, probably.|
|Taylor||8||1||7||A couple diving tackles that really helped out the befuddled linebackers.|
|Crable||7||3||4||Well, he's active.|
|Thompson||1||1||0||Had another couple near-minuses.|
|Ezeh||4||5||-1||Still a work in progress.|
|C. Graham||4||7||-3||Sometimes his inablity to stand up to blocks is truly amazing.|
|Trent||-||-||0||A remarkable complete game shutout for Trent -- wonder if this has ever happened before. Since he's a corner, this counts as an excellent performance.|
|Harrison||4||1||3||Blew one option; killed two drives with monster TFLs on screens/option plays.|
|Warren||5||2||3||Minnesota attempted to pick on him all day and mostly came up empty. Already a standout, IMO, and poised to have a huge career.|
|"Pressure"||15||4||11||Heavily Minnesota assisted, as several times their line calls completely missed corner blitzes and, once, Shawn frickin' Crable. Still: good.|
|"Coverage"||11||7||4||Another fine day for the secondary.|
More of the same: good play from the DL, an effective secondary, and linebackers that just didn't do much. Michigan's leading tacklers are Englemon, a safety, and Crable, a defensive lineman. Total safety tackles: 127. Total linebacker tackles: 118. That is not a good ratio. For comparison, last year it was linebackers 215, safeties 101.
Sometimes I feel like I'm being too harsh on the linebackers because of an expectation bias: I expect them to be bad, so I interpret their play as bad. The tackle numbers reassure me. They're the main issue with the defense at this point, IMO. Everything else appears solid.
Taylor had a very strong day, as did Johnson. Harrison and Warren were the best members of a strong secondary.
Well, yeah, the linebackers.
What does it mean for Michigan State?
It'll be interesting to see how Michigan adapts to a traditional offense, which they've seen all of once this year (Penn State) if you make the reasonable assertion that whatever the hell Weis is running, it's not "traditional" or for that matter "an offense". They did well against Penn State and the parallels between the two are vast: erratic quarterback, power-run philosophy, unquenchable thirst for brains.
Maybe not that last one.
Where Michigan State has the advantage on Penn State is they have a pair of good runners who complement each other -- Javon Ringer is an All-Big Ten level performer, IMO -- and a #1 wide receiver. Devin Thomas is legit and will be the stiffest test for Trent or Warren (or, more likely, whoever happens to line up on his side) since Oregon left town with our womenfolk trussed to their wagon.
IMO, this could go either way and slowing the MSU rushing attack would be an accomplishment of moderate valor that bodes well for the final two games of
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|M32||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Brown||Zone left|
|Seven in the box, so, like, okay. But Minnesota is lying in wait for this, shifted to the strongside. As a result, Boren doesn't have an angle for his second level block and there's a linebacker ready to meet Brown a few yards downfield. Fairly well blocked save for the Boren thing, which wasn't really his fault.|
|The TE-pull makes its first appearance since it showed up once against Penn State. Except instead of a tight end the pulling guy is a wide receiver. Seems like this would be a dead giveaway, no? It doesn't matter, though, as Minnesota bites like whoah. Mallett holds onto the ball â€“ there's no one in his face this time as the backside DE had crashed down on the run play â€“ until he finds Arrington open for a significant gain. Like the ability to take the deeper route here. (CA+, 3)|
|O46||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||Brown||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) doesn't bother to block the strongside DE. Bleah. Think this was supposed to be a counter thing as the FB headed to the backsie; no matter.|
|O47||2||11||I-Form Twins||Pass||Inc||Hemingway||WR Screen|
|Mallett horribly underthrows a screen. I think this is a fumble; it's called incomplete. Fortunate. (IN, 0)|
|DE speed rush almost gets past Long but does not; Schilling, however, is beaten. Mallett steps up past the pressure but can't find anyone and is eventually collapsed upon. (TA, 0, protection 1/2, Schilling -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt,0-0, 11 min 1st Q. Stewart(-1) lets a Zoltan punt bounce at the five and into the endzone.|
|Mallett checks into a pass with Minnesota showing eight in the box and everyone fairly close to the LOS. He can't find anyone, checking down to Moundros. Throw is late and behind him; a linebacker, drawn up by the delay, hits him as the ball gets there. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|M33||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Minor||Zone right|
|Pretty crappy block from Mathews as Minor goes for the edge; Minor does very well to stiffarm a corner and get outside the safety and up the sideline for a few. Minnesota all over the frontside of the play, in a 5-3-1-7 split of their own; counter counter counter dammit.|
|No idea what Minnesota is thinking on the coverage, as they pull up a safety in sort of a robber zone but he's nowhere near anyone. A simple slant is wide open to the outside. This is a completion so I can't be too hard but I think the placement of this ball is too far in front of Arrington and if he was being tightly covered, or someone had jumped the route, is a potential interception. Results based charting service says: (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|50||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||8||Brown||Zone left|
|Long(+1) and Butler(+1) seal the corner, giving Brown an opportunity to use the jets. If Schilling can get a block on the WLB this could go the distance; he doesn't. Tough assignment, but worth noting. Brown doesn't switch arms, fumbling the ball as the WLB gets there; turnover.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-3, 5 min 1st Q.|
|Pass interference called; looked weak live and still looks weak to me. Ball is way too far inside â€“ Manningham has a ton of room to the sideline â€“ and could have been intercepted if this corner wasn't ten. (IN, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|O46||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus and Ciulla attempt to execute one of these zone blocks we've seen of late wherein the first blocker blows the guy back and the second blocker picks him up as the other peels downfield. These need a name: they are now handoff blocks. This one is executed poorly, as Kraus(-1) never gets into him and Ciulla can't get there; the result is the DT tackling at the LOS.|
|Linebackers take steps back and get themselves in trouble; three second-level blockers get out to their man and momentarily this looks like a brewing big play; Ciulla(-1) loses his guy, who forces Minor outside, robbing a couple second level guys of their angles and limiting this to a small gain.|
|Minnesota sends the house; Mallett reads it and finds an open Manningham. The ball's knocked down; IMO just bad luck and a good play from the Gopher DL. (BA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-3, 1 min 1st Q.|
|50||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-4||--||Free touchdown|
|Hey, that sucked ass. One clarification from earlier: this was intended to be a run play, not a pass.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 0-10, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|M21||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||3||Minor||Zone left|
|Michigan seals the edge, as Butler, with some help from Long, blows the DE off the ball and gets out on a linebacker. If he wants it Minor can get the corner; he inexplicably cuts it up. He does get a good push after making contact, but this was a missed read.|
|Minnesota blitzes, opening this up. Good throw and catch; little YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|We get this, but another example of why I hate the stretch on third ands hort. Minnesota loads up the frontside with two linebackers and has eight in the box with one deep safety; Butler takes a hit from a charging LB, eventually stalemating him and driving him back a bit; his one-armed tackle attempt is warded off by Minor at the LOS. The backside pursuers fall, and Minor has a lane.|
|Lead draw fake with Minnesota showing eight in the box. Arrington has one-on-one coverage, running a comeback route that's ends up pretty well covered. Not sure if this was a poor route or poor timing. In any case, the window here is small and Mallett hits it. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2) Curry says this is a horrible read. I don't think it's so bad.|
|M42||2||3||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Minor||Zone right|
|Excellent push from the right side of the line but four players end up sprawled on the ground in a mess. Minor hops over them, getting popped by Steve Davis after picking up the first. Clay Matvick is always wrong about the yardage. I hate him.|
|M47||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||22||Arrington||Stop and go|
|Mallett pumps; the corner bites on a stop route. Mallett then lofts it into the space vacated. The ball is a little long â€“ Arrington lays out, making a gorgeous grab â€“ but catchable enough. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|We're watching replays as this snaps. Looks like Ciulla can't maintain his block.|
|Incredibly Surprising Quarterback Draw is a week late. Next time be infinity weeks late. Minnesota's MLB shoots up between OL as if this play is sort of... predictable.|
|Batted down. Bleah! (BA, 0, protection 0/1)|
|Drive Notes: FG(42), 3-10, 10 min 2nd Q. Lopata called a senior; he does have another year.|
|M37||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||5||Brown||Zone left|
|Again attacking the edge; a combo block from Long and Butler drives the DE back as Criswell takes on the corner. There's a gap between the two. Butler eventually loses the Long-provided momentum and allows his guy to come free to tackle with the help of a linebacker.|
|M42||2||5||Ace 4-wide||Pen||-5||Boren||False start|
|Butler spread wide; Mallett tosses a short out that's well covered. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Mallett with all day, eventually firing it long to Manningham in virtually the same spot on the field Arrington was. Like that pass, this is a little long and outside, but Manningham makes a fantastic juggling catch. (CA, 1, protection 3/3)|
|O15||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||8||Minor||Zone left|
|Going after the edge. Helmuth in as a second tight end. Butler can't really seal his guy (Long does a great job to make him the only relevant player) but does stalemate him. Minor meets him two yards downfield; he, Butler, and Helmuth combine to make a train that plows its way inside the ten. Powerful running.|
|O7||2||2||I-Form Twins||Run||-2||Minor||Zone left|
|Ciulla's asked to make a near-impossible block as Boren ignores the NT lined up directly in front of him. Ciulla can do little but chase him to Minor. Minor manages to get past him, but the play's messed up. Stretch on short yardage.|
|Overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2) Curry says he's just throwing it away, but there's a window here since Arrington can jump out of the stadium; Mallett misses it entirely.|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 6-10, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Arrington runs a stop route; a Minnesota player plows him. Mallett has to take off. After initially trying to get something downfield, he settles for a decent run. (TA, protection 2/2)|
|Eight in the box for Minnesota. We have an inverted TE set with Webb [erroneously IDed as Butler earlier. -ed] in a two-point stance on the line next to Moundros in the backfield; we run a draw off this. Webb(+1) gets an outstanding block on the linebacker attempting to contain; two guys come up inside; Moundros does a good job with one. This time Minor makes the right read, shooting outside into acres of space for a big gain. Long also excellent here.|
|O45||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||12||Minor||Zone right|
|Shuffle right, run right, away from the TE. This time we get an actual zone block from Ciulla and Boren, who drive the DT back; Ciulla(+1) peels out on to a linebacker as Helmuth hits the hole. Long has made the tough stretch block on the backside DT, the one Ciulla could not make on the last drive. This allows Boren to head downfield and flatten a linebacker. With a crease and no chasers, Minor hits the secondary again. (Replay)|
|Miscommunication between Long and Boren; both head out to the second level, allowing the frontside DE in unmolested. Think this is on Boren because, well, obviously, right? Brown runs past the DE; he makes a shoestring tackle.|
|Minnesota stacks the line and sends them all, six in total. Arrington gets a step on the seam and has the opportunity to make a catch with only a safety to juke for the endzone; Mallett overthrows it. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Excellent coverage from Minnesota: a bump and no separation; Manningham forced to the sideline. Mallett loads up and threads it in there; Manningham makes a good catch as the corner fails to locate the ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|O5||1||G||Ace Twins||Pen||-5||Ciulla||False start|
|Ciulla(-1); he's yanked for McAvoy.|
|A horrible decision; an equally horrible throw bails him out or Mallett throws an interception here. What's worse is he had a simple dumpoff to Mathews on the "TE" pull with no one within ten yards of him. Maybe a touchdown; definitely five yards. (BR, 0)|
|O10||2||G||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Manningham||WR Screen|
|Mathews in the backfield; he motions out to two guys at the top of the formation; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Excellent blocks from Arrington and Mathews; I wish Manningham had attacked this a little harder and picked up another yard or three. (CA, 3)|
|O4||3||G||Ace 3-wide||Pass||2 (pen)||Manningham||Slant|
|Manningham abused; flag. (CA, N/A, protection 1/1)|
|O2||1||G||I-Form Big||Run||2||Minor||Zone left|
|Can I use a touchdown as a further example of why I hate stretches on short yardage? The Minnesota MLB shoots into the backfield, nearly tripping Minor at the five. Minor manages to run past him, then cut up into a massive hole as Boren(+1) blocks a mofo into the wall.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 13-10, 3 min 2nd Q.|
|We motion the TE to the side oppose our FB offset, then run to the offset. Ciulla and Kraus combine on a crushing zone block that drives the Minnesota DT five yards downfield; there's a gaping hole up the middle as a result. Good job by Boren to seal the backside DT, and good downfield block by Long. Helmuth uselessly runs up the back of the zone block, allowing the MLB to tackle unblocked, but only after six yards; Minor carries him for three more.|
|Kraus has a tough time with the DT, getting no push and no seal; escorting him down the line to Minor. They meet at the LOS; Minor pushes forward for the first down. Think Minor misses a cutback opportunity here, as Schilling cut the backside DT to the ground.|
|Schilling(-2) lets this guy in, sure, and this is another instance where he's been shaky in pass pro. But Mallett has to help the guy out and step up in the pocket instead of running right into the DL and fumbling. (PR, 0, 0/2, Schilling -2)|
|Drive Notes: EOH, 13-10, EOH.|
|M31||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||3||Minor||Zone left|
|A late-blitzing safety makes this a seven-man front with another cornerback coming up to cut off the outside. Kraus again does an adequate but not great job on the DT. No penetration but no push and no seal. There is still a small gap between the DT and DE that Mallett flows up into. The Gopher safety does a good job of picking through traffic to pop Minor after he squeezes through the hole; more Gophers converge, including the aforementioned DT.|
|Same story with Kraus and the DT except a charging Moundros does a great job of chipping him as he plunges through the hole, knocking him backwards and to the ground. Moundros then continues on, helping Minor get a cutback lane by shoving a linebacker on the second level. Minor into the secondary. A Dudley-level play from Moundros here. Also, kudos to Schilling for getting a late cut on a backside DT.|
|Minnesota brings an eighth guy in the box and blitzes a linebacker right into the G-C gap on the frontside where the last two plays have gone. He gets through and tackles for loss. On Debord.|
|M40||2||13||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||WR Screen|
|Michigan motions a TE out to two receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Mallett throws it over Manningham's head. (IN, 0)|
|Mallett with time; can't find anyone. He steps up, continues to look around, and eventually scrambles for a few yards. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 13 min 3rd Q.|
|Miss the first portion of this play coming back from commercial... I mean, no big deal, it's just a 48-yard run. Even better: the replay is from ground level. From what I can tell, Kraus gets a seal on aDT; a frontside zone double shoves the other guy out of the hole, and Boren(+1) plows the MLB. Long must have gotten a good cut as tehre's no one on the backside when Minor cuts back. From there he's off to the races.|
|O43||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Eight in the box; Kraus(-1) has a bit of a hard time with his guy and Minor decides to take it outside instead of heading upfield in the gap. Butler(-1) doesn't to a good job on Davis, forcing Minor further outside; the play is strung out.|
|Minnesota blitzing up the middle; one unblocked linebacker picked off by Moundros; the other is forced to halt by the traffic. Unfortunately, McAvoy has peeled off in a futile attempt to get the second blitzing linebacker, allowing Davis to fill on a play that otherwise would have worked for near first-down yardage.|
|Mallett one-hops a stop route that wasn't going for the first down, anyway. (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 9 min 3rd Q. Zoltan, angry, boots it into the endzone.|
|M25||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||8||Minor||Inside zone|
|A rare zone play that's not a stretch. Michigan is fortunate the unblocked Davis doesn't shoot into Minor on this play; as it is he's a foot away. Minor cuts out of the intended hole, finding a crease between Butler and Schilling; he meets resistance 3-4 yards downfield, powering forward for a sizable gain a
|M33||2||2||Ace 3-wide||Pen||-5||McAvoy||False start|
|A well-timed corner blitz gets to Minor in the backfield; the corner trips him up by his ankles. Kraus(-1) defeated on a second level block; this wasn't going anywhere anyway.|
|Well, yeah, of course he makes this throw. Wish it was a little bit inside, as then it's a touchdown, but that's a tiny nit to pick. Manningham blew by on a straight fly route. Oh, I hope you're really really back. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Minnesota shifts very late, bringing up an eighth guy and throwing two linebackers at the strong side of the play. In the stands, I go "noooooooo" as Michigan snaps it and runs right into it; Brown breaks it big. Outstanding job by Helmuth to stone one of the strongside linebackers; Brown heads outside of him. Long blows the DE back; Boren... uh... definitely gets away with holding, dragging the DT to the ground. Criswell loses another LB but manages to block him out of the Long-generated crease. Secondary time. Five yards downfield, Brown meets up with Long still driving his guy back; a filling safety trips over the Minnesota DE's legs. Brown slips down to the five. This should go on Long's Heisman reel.|
|O4||1||G||I-Form||Run||4||Brown||Inside zone left|
|Key to this play is a powerful zone double from Boren and Kraus that drives the DT back four yards; McAvoy just barely gets enough of a cut on the backside DE; Schilling heads out to the second level and gets a good cut on a LB. Helmuth stones a guy on the fronside; Brown runs up the backs of Boren and Kraus for the TD.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 20-10, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|The Minnesota LBs are washed out; the MLB shoots upfield and is shoved to the ground by Kraus; Long engulfs the SLB. A safety heads outside for contain; Minor follows the FB between Butler and Boren(+1), who got the DT sealed at the last moment â€“ no grasping arms. Minor bolts through the hole and into daylight. (Replay)|
|Not sure what Moundros(-1) is thinking here, as there's a cavernous hole on the frontside that Davis is trying to fill. He peels off and hits a backside DT who's not a threat, leaving Davis alone. Minor manages to cut back for a few because the drive blocks mentioned previously (Boren +1, Kraus +1, Long +1) have opened up major space.|
|O48||2||7||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Brown||Zone left|
|Our unbalanced line that we toyed with against Eastern; still a 100% run formation. Minnesota appears to know this, shoving an eighth guy in the box and shifting to the overloaded side; doesn't matter. Boren(+1) again gets the DT sealed; Long and Butler have crushed the DE downfield. A desperate arm tackle from a pancaked backside DT and Schilling's inability to cut his guy lead to a tackle, but it's six yards downfield.|
|O42||3||1||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|The unblocked backside DE comes in to make this play... actual blocking was definitely sufficient for the first. I dunno... Brown sometimes goes down too easy for my tastes. Not much YAC in his legs.|
|I disagree with Bill Curry on everything. I just wanted to say that. Everything. Except an Englemon tackle earlier in this game. Mallett sneaks it.|
|Perfect throw; Manningham toast his guy; ballgame. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 27-10, 13 min 4th Q.|
|Criswell(-1) gets beat; the delay that causes allows the backside unblocked guys to close it down.|
|Critical error from the Gopher DT, who takes a step back instead of slanting hard left; this allows McAvoy to slide out on him and get a block as Kraus heads to the second level. Boren does a good job on the other DT; Moundros crushes one linebacker; Schilling cuts the other one. Brown jets for the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 34-10, 8 min 4th Q. Charting? Over.|
Well, that was... confusing.
Indeed. I mean, just look at the--
Those three DOs were all near-perfect bombs; two more CAs were further bombs that receivers laid out for. Other than that, though... ugly, ugly, ugly. Many of those incompletions were on screens and stops. The BR was also IN or Mallett throws a terrible redzone interception; in general TAs and BAs and PRs are not held against the quarterback unless they start to pile up... six is starting to pile up. And then there was the free touchdown. This was without question the most schizophrenic quarterback performance I can remember.
As a result: several scoring drives when the long completions came in with bupkis otherwise. Frankly, Mallett is a C- quarterback at the moment, and Henne's health will be critical for the stretch run.
It is nice that when Mallett does something right it's often damned impressive. He seems to have terrific command of the pocket and has arm strength for days. He was supposedly very accurate in high school; both Navarre and Henne had skittish days where they sailed a lot of balls before working their mechanics out and getting accurate. Mallett has a world of potential; still, I'm concerned that he will remain thoroughly bad through most of next year.
A flawless day from the wideouts, albeit in limited opportunities to actually catch the ball. The first two bombs from Mallett were circus catches.
Protection: 27/31, Schilling -3, Team -1.
A great day from anyone who wasn't Schilling, and Schilling wasn't awful. Just Minnesota, though.
Why did we run so much better in the second half? Was it the Ciulla-McAvoy switch? Something different we did schematically?
Not in my opinion. The key, IMO, were a few truly outstanding blocks from Boren and Kraus on some of Michigan's many zone lefts. Long was also near flawless, but he is always near flawless. During the Illinois game it was clear that Michigan was one block away from breaking into the secondary time and again. Against Minnesota they were again one block away through much of the first half; in the second half they started getting those blocks. I'd like to see Boren match that level of performance against a defense that isn't the worst in I-A before anointing him Arrived, but it was a really encouraging performance from him.
Also, Mark Moundros spent much less time flopping at the feet of linebackers and more time punching them in the facemask with his head; this was the first time this year the fullbacks were a definite positive.
As far as the scheme goes, there were a few instances where we saw true zone doubles on the interior of the line -- Brown's first touchdown run for one -- instead of the stretch blocking we've gotten used to over the past year and a half. These were generally very effective, perhaps because the Minnesota DTs were in no way able to stand up to them. That might not be as effective against lumbering tubs of goo.
Long, Kraus, and Boren; Manningham. Minor, I thought, was the better of the backs, consistently running with power and picking up YAC.
Mallett was the main reason the offense sputtered early. Schilling appears to be a weak link in pass protection.
What does this mean for Michigan State?
Very little assuming Henne and Hart plays. I think everyone's more worried about Henne now that Hart's backups have shown they aren't straight off the short bus, if that's a takeaway lesson.
Other things that might be relevant: Boren is quickly playing himself out of "oh God, so young" status. Manningham looks to be back to the form he
flashed before the meniscus injury last year; Spartan cornerbacks beware.
Overall, this offense was sabotaged/saved by a freshman backup quarterback playing against the nation's worst defense. Little can be gleaned.
Video trouble? Try VLC.
|M10||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-3||Brown||Zone left|
|Seven in the box against this three-wide look; Illinois in a base 4-3 set. We run zone left; Illinois blitzes right into it and gets a linebacker in the backfield instantly. Kind of looks like they knew exactly what was coming.|
|M7||2||13||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Brown||Zone right|
|Same base 4-3 for Illinois. Good cut from Kraus(+1); frontside blocking is good from Boren(+1) and Ciulla, starting at RG despite the announced lineup. Illinois got blown off the ball, but forced a cutback from Brown, allowing the backside DE to close and prevent him from shooting into the secondary. Well blocked.|
|Weird formation with the tight end lined up just in front of and to the left of Minor. Manningham runs a post route as Arrington drags just in front of the first down line; Illinois jumps the drag as Henne reads this and fires the post. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Butler open as Leman sells out on the playfake and the weakside linebacker is trying to cover receivers downfield in zone. Butler makes the grab and lumbers upfield a bit. (CA, 3)|
|Moundros lined up as a nominal tight end; he ducks inside Butler at the snap, acting as a fullback. Brown follows him into the hole, but Ciulla(-1) has not cut off the backside DT, who powers through the block and tackles near the LOS. Good play by him; without that Michigan has a big gainer.|
|This is open for the first; thrown behind Manningham, tipped, and intercepted. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 0-7, 11 min 1st Q.|
|Michigan catches a break as this #11 guy runs into Mathews and gives Michigan a free 15 yards. On this play we bring Arrington in motion to the left side of the line â€“ where the FB is located â€“ and use him as an extra blocker. I think Brown screws up a read here since the Arrington motion was not met with a defensive adjustment and he should be able to get the corner; maybe Kraus(-1)'s inability to handle Norwell helped him decide to head up into the middle of the line. A good backside cut from Schilling and some overpursuit from Ciulla's guy gives Brown a hole; Butler has no angle on a linebacker, though, and said linebacker makes a shoestring tackle.|
|M35||2||7||Ace Empty||Pass||4||Manningham||Bubble screen|
|Manningham motions to a pair of receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Steele does a good job of recognizing this and attacking Arrington's outside shoulder; Arrington holds him a little bit but not enough to get called and Manningham manges to get the corner for a few. We really need some plays that play off this formation. (CA, 3)|
|Same weird TE positioning. Ciulla(-1) loses his guy; Kraus(-1) loses his guy; they meet at Henne. (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 7 min 1st Q. Ugly pressure from both DTs; Zoltan blasts a 67 yard punt. Hail Zoltan! Illinois goes three and out, then shanks a punt.|
|M49||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||7||Brown||Zone left|
|Mallett in. This defense would be killing me if I was an Illinois fan. They've got a linebacker over the slot guy and are clearly tipping zone. We run away from the receivers as they attack; blitzing MLB swallowed up by Long(+1); Ciulla(+1) manages to cut the backside linebacker; Davis gets too far outside to help. Brown runs over the prone MLB, tripping in the process.|
|Virtual replay of the first Butler catch with the quick dumpoff and Butler turning upfield for a decent gain. Looks quicker on this one. (CA, 3)|
|O34||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4 + 5||Brown||Zone right|
|Manningham whiffs as he tries to cut the corner and Kraus can't quite get out on Leman; the rest of the play is well blocked; Ciulla and Boren drive guys downfield; Davis and Leman converge after a few. Incidental facemask.|
|Think this is designed to go inside as Boren and Kraus double the DT, driving him back. Moundros(-1) whiffs on the linebacker; Brown cuts up into the double and a backside double. No one ever gets disengaged to block the second level but the push on the first level is enough for the first down.|
|O23||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||6||Brown||Zone left|
|Nice job by Kraus(+1) to first get the DT sealed, then get out on a linebacker just enough to slow his progress and get Brown through the hole.|
|O17||2||4||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Long(-1) gets beat on this play, allowing the DE to get inside of him after getting pushed back a yard or two; Brown attempts to cut past him but no dice.|
|O16||3||3||Shotgun Empty||Pass||6 (pen)||Manningham||In|
|2 TEs who stay in to block so not exactly empty-empty. Mallett's throw is only marginally accurate â€“ it would be behind but a makeable catch â€“ but it's a moot point with the Illinois DB interfering. (CA-, N/A, protection 2/2)|
|Frontside jammed up as Illinois jumps all over this, shooting a safety up right before the snap. Kraus has trouble with Norwell; Brown cuts back into the backs of his offensive linemen; little place else to go.|
|Arrington has 'em, as the corner jumps the slant as he starts heading to the sideline; the throw is batted at the line and falls to the turf. (I assume. If it wasn't, it slipped.) (BA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O8||3||G||Shotgun 2-back||Pass||Inc||Arrington||Skinny post|
|This could easily have been called interference; Hicks comes over the top, yanking Arrington with his off arm before the ball gets there. As it was, excellent coverage. Ball was again behind the receiver. (CA-, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(25), 3-7, 1 min 1st Q. Holy God: during this drive ABC puts up a graphic on first down play selection. First six games: 24% pass. Purdue: 35%. I know, Mallett and blowouts and all that stuff but that's everyone's criticisms of Debord wrapped up into one little stat. Also, Zoltan's hold was a thing to be seen. Video!|
|Henne back; he throws a stop to Manningham good for about five; Manningham slips a tackle for a few more. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Butler(-1) lets a defensive end spin past him; Henne's going to get whacked unless he gets rid of this. Fortunately, he does, finding Arrington 30 yards downfield on a post route. Perfect throw. (DO, 2, protection 2/3) Watch the defense on this one; Illinois brings a safety to the line as Michigan comes out in a run formation on second and short; Henne knows he has this from the snap.|
|Wheee! I love these.|
|A simple stop route here that Henne throws well behind Arrington; he's got a shot at it but can't haul it in. Announcers unnecesssarily harsh on what would have been a twisting, one-handed grab. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Weird TE placement; Manningham burns Davis on a flag and hauls it in. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2).|
|Manningham on the far sideline stop route we occasionally use in the waggle; Henne daringly loops it over a linebacker coming over to cover; Manningham makes the reception, dodges a tackler, and extends for the touchdown. (DO, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-14, 8 min 2nd Q. No runs on this drive; scoring offense.|
|Henne probably should have gone with Arrington on a flag behind this, but that's life I guess. Manningham does a good job of fighting for two or three more after this short,well-covered completion. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M24||2||5||Ace||Run||6||Brown||Outside zone left|
|We motion Arrington in for the three TE look, and I can't figure out whether this is well blocked or not. Andre Criswell(!) is one of the TEs; he lets the Illinois DE inside of him; Arrington helps seal him. Long releases downfield on the MLB; as Brown clears the DE he's presented with a filling corner and the MLB cutting towards him, Long in tow; he cuts inside behind long and a peeling Criswell, then splits two more guys for first down yardage. Possibly Brown's best run of the night and an indication he might be starter material.|
|M30||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Deep slant|
|Weird TE. Not sure what to call this route; it's basically a slant that runs long as Arrington clears out zone coverage. Henne finds and fires it to Manningham, a little high. It's dropped. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Schilling(-2) pwned by Pilcher; Henne with no chance. (PR, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2) Jake looks sad after the play.|
|A delayed stunt between the two DTs gets Lindquist free; Henne's stepped up into the pocket as the ends have come speed rushing upfield; he's snowed under. (PR, 0, protection 1/2, Minor -1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 4 min 2nd Q. Zoltan draws a personal foul for roughing the kicker. Hail Zoltan. It's that #11 again. Give that kid a scholarship.|
|M28||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Brown||Zone left|
|Excellent blocking on the frontside; unfortunately Ciulla just can't quite get his man slowed up enough to spring Brown. The frontside drive blocks have created enough room for Brown to surge forward for a decent gain.|
|Waits for Manningham to come open in the zone, then hits him right in stride so he can pick up another 10 YAC. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Illinois finally in nickel and waiting on the pass. We've done this a couple times this year where a TE lined up just off the LOS dives inside to become a fullback; here Butler picks off a linebacker as Boren moves to the second level and gets an excellent block. Minor powers through an arm tackle, then stiffarms a DB for a good gain.|
|The problems on this play are manifold: Illinois has brought another guy into the box and Steele blitzes from the outside. Butler(-1) whiffs. Minor could just take it up the gut, but Schilling(-1) has gotten beaten by Pilcher. Two guys beating their blockers usually means TFL; this is a TFL.|
|Schilling(-1) again beaten; Henne manages to step up past the onrushing defender. Problem: Ciulla(-1) also beaten and there's a DT about to swallow Henne up. He manages to chuck it to Butler for a couple yards, no thanks to the OL. (CA+, 3, protection 0/2)|
|O31||3||11||Ace 3-wide||Pass||15||Butler||Deep cross|
|First guy is covered, so Henne has to check down; he finds Butler barely
open running a crossing route in man coverage, and puts it right where it needs to be so he can pick up the last couple yards he needs for the first on his own. Excellent pocket this time; good blitz pickup from Minor. (DO, 2, protection 3/3)
|O16||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||3||Minor||Zone right|
|Pass-off block on the backside DT between Kraus and Long (you know, the one where Kraus bursts into the guy, knocking him back for Long to pick up) never gets the guy slowed up, so he tracks down the line. Steele defeats Butler's block(-1) and the two guys coverge on the ballcarrier despite Illinois only having six in the box.|
|O13||2||7||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Arrington||Stop & go|
|Henne has this â€“ the short corner bites â€“ but throws it long and outside. Arrington lays out but can't haul it in. (IN, 1, protection 2/2)|
|The touchdown; beautiful layout from Arrington and the ball from Henne is well placed enough. (CA- 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-14, 1 min 2nd Q. Full credit to Lloyd for using the challenge here. Why the F did he have to use it, though?|
|M12||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||0 + 5||Brown||Zone left|
|Mallett in; Michigan runs against only seven in the box but virtually no one actually gets blocked. Ciulla(-1) can't even slow the backside DT; the DE manages to stay up after a pretty good cut from Schilling. Steele, unblocked, makes three guys in the backfield. No dice. We luck out with an incidental facemask.|
|M17||1||5||I-Form Twins||Run||2||Brown||Zone left|
|Wow, this is depressing: Illinois has only six guys in the box here. Long(-1) does not wall off his guy, who manages to set up inside enough to disengage and grab Brown as he passes. Ciulla(-1) fails to get a second level block; the linebacker fills ably. Michigan should really do better here.|
|Butler gets driven way back but the DE is too aggressive and runs himself past Brown, falling. Long(+1) gets out on the WLB; Kraus and Moundros seal the frontside DT and the backside guy can't quite get to Brown.|
|M26||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||-1||--||Fumbled snap|
|Woo. Illinois again with six in the box, running a safety to the line at the snap. Trying to dupe Mallett into a run call? (It was a zone right.)|
|Caught Illinois in a good defense for this, as they bring up a LB to the line and blitz him out of the play. Only Leman is back there, but Moundros runs right up the middle of the play and the hole is between Ciulla and Schilling; he has no angle and Britt Miller is unmolested.|
|Ton of time for Mallett; he can't find anyone. He starts rolling out, directing Greg Mathews to go somewhere... he gets wide open but Mallett, for some reason, hesitates and takes a sack. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-14, 11 min 3rd Q. Carr chews Mallett out a bit after the play. Wonder what that was about?|
|M30||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Ugly: seven in the box but a corner lined up over the slot guy, who is in tight over a TE. He blitzes right into this play. Moundros picks him off, but the result is that Miller is totally unblocked â€“ extra guy â€“ and tackles at the LOS.|
|M31||2||9||Ace 4-wide||Pass||Inc||Butler||TE Out|
|This is either deflected or just ugly. I can't quite make it out, but there's no mention of the pass getting batted, so... (IN, 0, protection 1/1)|
|Weird TE. Mallett can't find anyone open, but the middle of the field has broken wide open so he takes off. He is graceful like a dead gazelle.|
|The DE gets inside Long, then falls; Moundros also runs up and creates a mess. Brown's apparently headed outside, so the linebacker also heads out, robbing Boren of an angle to block him. Somehow Brown squirts through for a decent gain.|
|O44||2||6||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Corner blitzes right into the play and Moundros; Moundros can't handle him and he tackles at the LOS. Predictable predictable.|
|Two TEs, no RBs, this is a straight bomb to Manningham; Manningham has a step and a half on Davis; the ball is badly underthrown. When Manningham tries to adjust, Davis runs him over, bailing Michigan out. A touchdown if accurate. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O28||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||0||--||Fumbled snap|
|This one we lose; Boren, BTW, is at guard and Kraus is doing the snapping.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 17-14, 7 min 3rd Q. Seriously, WTF.|
|Butler doesn't even get a touch on the weakside DE, so he's un unblocked; Schilling is having trouble with the DT. Mallett has to dance around and flick it out to Butler, who they still aren't covering on this little flat route. (CA+, 3, protection 0/1, Butler)|
|M35||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||12||Brown||Zone left|
|I don't know if this was an adjustment or what, but now starts a series of plays where our running backs head out to the corner time and again, getting it time and again. This play is... odd. The frontside DT is let free as Long(+1) engages the frontside DE and Boren heads to the second level. The linebacker to the playside stays too far inside â€“ maybe reading the hole caused by the DT flying upfield -- and gets blocked out of the play by Boren; Long holds the corner. Brown just runs outside.|
|M47||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||30||Brown||Zone right|
|Arrington shuffles in at the start of the play, sort of tipping where we're going; Illinois slants away from it anyw
ay. Martez Wilson gets inside Butler, but can't quite get around in time to catch up to Brown. Schilling(+1) clocked a linebacker on the second level; Arrington(+1) walls off the corner. Brown takes off for a big gainer.
|O22||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||10||Minor||Zone left|
|We shuffle and run towards it; this spurs a blitz from the LB to the playside that's perfectly timed. Long(+2) does a fantastic job absorbing the LB's momentum and actually driving him back. Moundros shoots between Long and Boren but ignores the MLB; Minor heads outside where a safety has come up; Moundros redeems himself by changing course and pounding him as Minor cuts back upfield. A stiffarm â€“ Minor's second of the game â€“ wards off the corner and gives Minor, uh, the corner.|
|O12||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Illinois now really stacking the hell out of the box, with eight guys in there plus a safety looking for the run. There are only two guys, one of them a linebacker, bothering with the WRs. This one's hard to make out; it looks like Kraus moved to the second level too quickly for Ciulla to pick up a block on the DT; Boren also struggled and DTs hit Minor at the LOS.|
|O12||2||10||Ace Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|An excellent play from Leman, who shoots through a gap in the line and tackles Brown in the backfield.|
|Thrown into coverage; if he puts this outside maybe it has a chance. (BR, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 17-17, EO 3rd Q.|
|Henne returns. Weird TE. Henne scans, coming off to a second or third read. It's low but catchable; Mathews can't dig it out. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|This is all on Boren(-1), who hesitates and does not get out on Steele, allowing the LB to drive to the ball carrier and eventually causing a big TFL. (CA, 3)|
|M18||3||14||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||3 + 15||Mathews||Drag|
|Weird TE. Henne comes down to Mathews on a well-covered crossing route for three yards; face mask bails Michigan out. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M36||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Pen||-5||Butler||False Start|
|M31||1||15||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||4 + 15||Manningham|
|Michigan motions Butler to a pair of wide receivers at the top of the screen; I mutter "screen"; Michigan screens. Illinois covers it well, holding it down to four yards, then picks up a late hit. (CA, 3)|
|First: Schilling gets away with a blatant hold here. Second: Schilling's blatant hold isn't good enough to keep the defender off Henne; he's hit as he throws and the ball is a duck that falls incomplete. (BA, 0, protection 0/2, Schilling -2)|
|Well blocked on the first level and Brown takes the appropriate hole; quick filling safety helps hold it down.|
|Good pocket, throw, and catch. (CA, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Everyone runs flies in the hope that Illinois will have a two-deep coverage and the safeties will be SOL; this does not happen and everyone looks well covered. Henne throws for Manningham, but I think this is just chucking the ball OOB. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|O37||2||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Run||-6||Minor||Zone left|
|I think. This is out of the shotgun and it's a little weird. A DT is left totally unblocked; Minor should run away from him but instead stops, thinking about trying to juke him. This does not work. At all. This actually kind of looks like Illinois' variation on the zone read that got Juice loose earlier in the game â€“ Herbstreit says it's a zone read, too â€“ but would we really run this? Are we stupid or something?|
|O43||3||16||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Stop & go|
|Wide open, as the DB stumbles; overthrown. (IN, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-17, 9 min 4th Q. Mind bullets.|
|O13||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||2||Brown||Zone left|
|Eight in the box and they're charging forward at the snap. Brown burrows his way for two in a mess of players.|
|Well, yeah, of course we call that.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-17, 8 min 4th Q. MOMENTARY WOO THAT DOES NOT CONSIDER CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING WOO GO.|
|This is going to be zone right; Henne is stepped on by an OL and falls.|
|We love these drag routes, don't we? This one is actually a few yards down the field; an Illinois DB whiffs on a tackle and the corner opens up for Mathews. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O29||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|No creases here; Butler(-1) driven back into Brown's path by Miller; a wad of bodies consumes the tailback.|
|Corner is playing in Tajikistan after that last bomb and doesn't even come close to jumping the route. Ball is a little short and outside, dragging Manningham back upfield and eventually out of bounds when a first down was available with a better throw. (CA-, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O21||3||2||I-Form Big||Run||-2||Minor||Zone left|
|I'm not sure how the zone is doing on third and short this year, but this is a bad acid flashback to last year. Minor is swarmed, avoids a four-yard TFL, and manages to only lose two. Aaaargh run an iso.|
|Drive Notes: FG(39), 2
7-17, 4 min 4th Q. Michigan gets the ball back with two minutes left and a ten point lead; charting stops here.
So I think the potential disconnect between myself and some readers is this: I say "we only won that game because of many, many Illinois mistakes" and the response is "but you did not consider our mistakes!" But, uh... aren't our mistakes sort of the point? Michigan only has control over what it does; in this game it did a lot of bad: turnovers, sacks, fumbled snaps, dropped balls, etc. The point is less "we should have lost to Illinois" and more "this game reinforces my dark side that believes this team is going to end up 8-4 or 9-3 and is not likely to win a bowl game."
That said, there were positives to take out of this game I didn't see from the Memorial Stadium endzone. Henne was very good. Both Brown and Minor showed some indication they will be decent to good Big Ten runners next year. A large portion of the offensive suck was Mallett related and hopefully not something that will extend into the last three games of the season.
Say something nice.
Full credit to the coaching staff for deciding to place boot upon trachea on the last drive, taking the opportunity offered by Illinois' petrified corner on the last second down charted to set up a makeable field goal. The drag route that set Michigan up was a bit fortunate -- a missed tackle turned a seven yard gain into twenty -- but at least they were throwing the ball a bit. The reward was a clinching score and a relatively safe last four minutes.
First, Mallett: he was really, really bad. In addition to the numbers above he fumbled two snaps (Henne also fumbled one), losing one, and a few of the CAs were marginal throws behind receivers that allowed Illinois defensive backs to make a play on the ball. The idea of crediting him for the two pass interference penalties he picked up doesn't hold water, as one a short cross thrown behind the receiver, giving the DB a chance to make a play that he did not, and the other was an underthrown bomb that was an easy touchdown if accurate.
It's just a third of a game that Mallett was yanked in and out of and not worth panicking over, but let's not sugarcoat things: he was bad, bad, bad.
Aren't the coaches putting him in a position to fail?
To some extent yes, but at this point it's something of a chicken-and-egg problem. Does Mallett often perform poorly because the only times he's suffered to throw downfield are when there is no other options? Is he suffered to throw only on obvious throwing downs because he performs poorly? Given how bad he was and how that Michigan rumbled down the field on Mallett's final drive before he threw a killer interception at the five, it's hard to criticize.
But... still.... Mallett's first and second down play breakdowns:
One fumbled snap on first down was not charted. That's a lot of runs, and the pass was one of those little flickouts to Butler behind the LOS. At this point, don't you have to try loosening things up a bit?
The only non-ND Mallett touchdown drive -- as opposed to Morelli gift -- was the one against Penn State where Michigan opened up, got the ball out to Manningham a couple times on first down, and staked itself to an eight-point lead it would not relinquish. Mallett's best drive against Northwestern was mostly passing. The rest? Bupkis. Though Michigan did have the one long ground-based drive against Illinois and a shorter one that ended in a field goal, the overall efficacy rate of Mallett's training wheels offense is minuscule... and that's not all on him. Except in this game.
I may have been a little generous with the DOs, but there they are; they are unlikely to be a result of win-based ecstasy. One inaccurate pass was the horrible interception; a couple others could plausibly be credited to his half-ending injury and should be looked upon in context. Another very strong outing for him.
Protection: 48/59. Not a good day. Culprits: Schilling -5, Ciulla -2, Butler -2, Minor -1, Kraus -1.
So this Schilling-buffeting?
First, a whole host of caveats: Schilling showed up, got mono, missed most of his freshman year with an injury that prevented him from adding strength anywhere, then was injured and out for most of spring practice. In-season he's been batted from tackle to guard and back to tackle. He is playing over his head to even be a starter.
That said, he's not playing particularly well. The problems in pass protection have been matched with frequent issues in the run game. One sack and a dangerously batted pass were on him as he failed to contain Illinois DE Doug Pilcher. At the moment, the great hope of the 2007 offensive line, that Schilling and Boren would turn out to be better than the departed Bihl/Riley combo, has not come to fruition. It looks highly unlikely to get there any time this year.
A less effective game from the receivers, as Mathews and Manningham dropped a couple of makeable catches. Arrington laid out for one spectacular touchdown grab, though.
You mean obvious non-touchdown in the eyes of the replay official oops right?
Yeah, seriously. Everyone in the stadium expected that third down to be reviewed as soon as Arrington hit the ground, but Carr actually had to use his challenge to get the geriatric in the booth to put down his Werther's Originals and look at the play. WTF? The addition of the challenge seemed more a salve for outraged coaches in the aftermath of the fiasco that was the Alamo Bowl than a useful addition to the system. Michigan should never have been forced to use its challenge for an obviously close, critical play, especially given that Michigan let the play clock wind all the way down before making the challenge.
Henne, mostly. No one else stood out as particularly excellent on offense. Brown, maybe. Also, the Illinois punt and punt return teams. We love you guys. Especially #11.
There is no UFR for special teams, so special teams guys never get called out in these sections but we need a special shout out for Zoltan here. His 67-yard rocket changed the field position early in the game, and he allowed no returns, pinned opponents within the 20 whenever given the opportunity, dug out an extra point snap, and got himself roughed by #11. Yea, truly he is benevolent.
Also, KC Lopata: don't go changing.
Schilling, as mentioned, had a very tough time with Pilcher and others. Mallett was real bad for the first time in his Michigan career.
What does it mean for Minnesota?
Since the Gophers just gave up 400 rushing yards to a I-AA team and are starting three true freshmen in the secondary, anything less than one million points will be disappointing.
|M33||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Run||7||Zone read handoff|
|Fullback in the game; Mendenhall motions in from the slot. FB used as a lead blocker as Taylor gets doubled at the POA. CGraham(-1) gets blocked out of the hole and Mendenhall has a crease; a blitzing Harrison comes around from the backside and grabs at Mendenhall's legs; he almost powers through but falls.|
|M26||2||2||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Pass||26||Zone read PA|
|Again with motion from the slot to the backfield; this time it's Benn. Illinois fakes inside to Mendenhall as Benn comes around the outside, giving a triple option look. This sucks up Graham and Englemon, leaving eight guys within two yards of the LOS. Warren(-2) has let his man behind him; easy pitch and catch for the touchdown. (Cover -2) It looks like Warren expects safety help from Englemon and got the defense mixed up.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 0-7, 14 min 1st Q. Fake beautifully executed there; we freak out about the option and Juice had his choice of targets.|
|M40||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone right|
|Straight zone stretch here that we could have run. We have an extra guy, Harrison, in the box and they neglect to block him because Crable(+1) drives his man into the backfield and draws attention from a guard. Harrison slows Mendenhall; Jamison and others converge to tackle after a small gain.|
|M38||2||8||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||-6||Flare screen|
|Benn motions into the backfield, then runs a little flare screen. This is odd, since instead of blocking Harrison the slot guy runs a little flare route of his own, allowing him to close unblocked. He does do this(+2), making a key TFL without overrunning the dangerous Benn.|
|M44||3||14||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Pen||-5||False Start|
|Well, full credit to CGraham(+2) here. He blitzes, beating the left tackle to the corner and grabbing Juice from behind as he attempts to scramble out of the pocket. (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 9 min 1st Q.|
|O4||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 Goalline||Run||0||Off tackle|
|Jamo(+1) is ignored on the first level in favor of a double on Johnson; he busts into the backfield and takes on the FB such that he's stoned and the pulling guard has nowhere to go; Mendenhall cuts it to the backside were an unblocked Adams(+1) fills with authorita.|
|O4||2||10||I-Form Big||4-4 Goalline||Run||5||Iso|
|Taylor doubled and pushed back a bit, opening a hole as BGraham(-1) shoots upfield and out of the play. Ezeh(+1) takes on the fullback, shedding as he ducks inside to avoid a filling Adams.|
|Englemon(+1) jumps the route and impacts the receiver just as the ball gets there. It's wide anyway â€“ Juice Williams and all that â€“ but would have been a tough catch to make even if accurate. (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-7, 5 min 1st Q.|
|O10||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read keeper|
|Crable(+1) keeps contain, bottling Juice up and tackling. Benn dropped back here, hoping to give Juice an option look should he get outside.|
|Juice stands in despite having an unblocked blitzer in his face and delivers a strike. Warren tackles immediately. (Cover -1)|
|O19||3||1||I-Form Big||4-4 Goalline||Run||1||Iso|
|The double on Taylor gets just enough push for Mendenhall to squeeze out a first down. BGraham(+1) got some penetration and was a hair away from slowing Mendenhall in the backfield long enough for the linebackers to collapse.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|Stunt or slant of some kind that sees Taylor step hard to the left, eventually getting picked up by the RT as Crable and Ezeh crash in unblocked on the outside. Juice reads this and makes the handoff; Chris Graham has to deal with the center and can't; Taylor(+1) does a good job of reading and recovering, grabbing Mendenhall by the legs and taking him down. Our rock, their paper, and a five yard gain here is about the minimum.|
|They leave Crable(+1) unblocked on the first level; the fullback is supposed to pick him off. This does not so much happen as Crable bolts around the FB and sticks Mendenhall in the backfield.|
|O25||3||5||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Cross|
|Benn sits down in a hole in the zone vacated when Ezeh starts chasing after Mendenhall on a flare route, then suddenly pulls up. Crable(+1) was about to pound Juice here if he had to hesitate. (Cover -1)|
|Juice on a rollout. Fires low and late to Benn; Trent(+1) is up on this route, nearly intercepting it and making it an extremely difficult catch. (Pressure -1, cover +1)|
|O42||2||2||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||23||Zone read trap|
|We've got Ferrara(-2) in there; he comes through totally unblocked as Illinois turns him loose; he then bites on the zone read fake and lets Juice free. You can see him say "#&#$" to himself as Juice starts motoring. Ezeh had to respect the Mendenhall fake but CGraham(-1) meekly accepted a block.|
|Juice scans and scans, finding no one. (Cover +2, pressure -1) Once the clock in his head goes of he starts running around like he is wont to do; Ezeh and CGraham chase him out of bounds.|
|M33||2||8||Ace 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||>10||Iso|
|You can blame this on shoddy tackling or credit Mendenhall for being a damn good back; probably some of both. Ezeh shoots into the backfield on a run blitz, where the fullback submarines him. Johnson has hopped inside the tackle and lunges at Mendenhall's feet; he takes a hop step and dodges it. Johnson(+1), prone, latches onto his foot, but just before the cavalry convenes he squirts free and takes off downfield for ten yards. I have to hand out some demerit somewhere, and this one goes to Englemon(-1), who overran the play and gave up that cutback lane when there was no need to rush to an area two players had covered.|
|Benn motions into the backfield, but Juice just sets up to throw. He has all day (pressure -1), finally coming down to a little stop route in front of Trent. Good coverage(+1) elsewhere.|
|Illinois pulls a tackle around to attack a fairly large gap between the weakside tackle, lined up almost over the center, and end, who's outside the tackle. Taylor(-1) is blown back; Ezeh does not read the play quickly enough and eats the pulling OL as the LG slides off on Graham. Mendenhall bursts through the line and drags Crable, tracking back, for four extra yards.|
|M8||1||G||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||8||Zone read handoff|
|Pure zone left from a shotgun formation here. Crable(-1) cedes the corner; Warren(-1) reads this late and gets out of position as this nears the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 3-14, 10 min 2nd Q. A frustrating ground-based drive that features... what? Three first down passes? None of these were exactly brilliant but they kept the defense off balance and put Williams in a place he could succeed. I also love the zone read where they loose a defensive tackle who's unlikely to be as well versed in containment as the defensive ends; sure enough Ferrara bites and Illinois gets a big chunk of yards on an impressive touchdown drive.|
|O35||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Both CGraham(+1) and Ezeh(+1) finally get the picture, leaping forward before the second-level blockers can get out on them and stuffing this in the intended hole.|
|O35||2||10||I-Form 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||8||Rollout scramble|
|Play action to Mendenhall and then an escorted rollout for Williams. He can't find anyone (cover +1); Jamison is all alone out there and manages to keep Juice inside, a small victory, despite having to deal with a blocker. Ezeh(-1) waited too long on the fake, allowing the scramble, but did recover well enough to make a tackle downfield. Managed to not get suckered by a juke and made a nice open field tackle.|
|O43||3||2||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read keeper|
|Same zone read that Juice picked up 23 on the last drive with the intent being an unblocked, suckered DT; we stunt, however. Taylor(+1) comes around after blowing up the center and holds contain; Johnson(+1) has beaten the pulling guard to his spot and the two of them have Juice boxed in for no gain.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-14, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|This kind of looks like a bad throw, but I don't know that it was. Harrison(+1) was actually running this route better than the WR; if this is accurate he has a shot at a pick. As it is, Juice has to throw it well behind the WR, who drops a very touch catch. (Cover +1)|
|Ezeh(+1) reads this and should have it dead to rights but Mendenhall makes a great play to get away. Nevertheless, the timing of the play is disrupted and Mendenhall is swarmed under by defenders. Illinois allows the half to run out.|
|Drive Notes: EOH, 17-14, EOH.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||13||Zone read handoff|
|Mendenhall motions into the backfield; triple option look; they hand off to the dive guy. Awful play from both linebackers; CGraham(-1) gets lost way outside where Crable and Warren have hopped on the option; Ezeh(-1) is hesitant and gets clubbed out of the play by an OL. DT twist leaves both guys out of position and there's a major hole.|
|M49||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||20||Zone read PA|
|Same motion, same triple option action, but Juice pulls it out and sets up to throw. Both LBs are sucked up; huge hole between levels in the zone. Ezeh recovers a bit, getting in the throwing land, but the pass glances off his helmet and is completed anyway. (Cover -2, pressure -1)|
|Michigan blitzes into this, forcing a quick pitch. As soon as that happens, Harrison(+1) comes up to fill, taking on the fullback and forcing Mendenhall back inside, where Crable(+1) has come all the way from the backside to tackle.|
|M30||2||11||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Stop|
|The 3-3-5 with much smaller DL gaps; we blitz ineffectively out of this (pressure -1) and our LBs open a big hole in the middle of the zone (cover -1); we again are flying out on these flare routes. Juice finds a guy for near first down yardage. He drops an easy pass.|
|M30||3||11||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Deep cross|
|Another delayed blitz, this one sort of effective as Juice can't find anyone. (Cover +1). He rolls out, pulling up to airmail a ball out of the corner of the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG (47), 10 min 3rd Q.|
|O29||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||-6||Zone read option|
|McGee in. They finally go with the option they've been threatening; Harrison(+1), blitzing, shoots into the backfield and tackles Williams before he can even think about pitching â€“ pitch was probably going to be covered by Adams anyway.|
|O23||2||16||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Screen|
|CGraham is in man here and Mendenhall is his responsibility. He cuts through some blockers adeptly, then flies right past Mendenhall. Overrun, thy name is Graham(-1). Adams comes in and makes a valiant attempt but fa
ils; Taylor(+1) backtracks impressively and grabs Mendenhall by the ankles. Mendenhall did make a sweet move to juke Graham.
|BGraham(+1), at DT, shoots past a guard and gets immediate pressure on McGee, who scrambles out. (Pressure +1) Crable chases but can't catch him; Will Johnson(-1) overruns it. Where are our linebackers?|
|Taylor(-1) bowled over, making this a huge hole; CGraham(-1) blocked out of the play. Ezeh attempts to close it down but is a step slow.|
|Thompson(-1) returns for the first time in a while; his first contribution is getting blown out of the hole by a fullback, allowing Mendendhall another first down run. Adams(-1) also got himself out of position.|
|M27||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||4||Bubble screen|
|Trent's(+1) playing off but does a pretty good job of closing this down.|
|M23||2||6||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Run||2||FB Dive|
|Option fake to the outside; we miss a portion of this play for an ESPN logo. Taylor(+1) gets off a block to close it down after a short gain.|
|M21||3||4||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Option fake outside; Thompson(+2) slices up before the OL can get a hand on him and tackles in the backfield.|
|Drive Notes: FG(38), 17-17, 4 min 3rd Q.|
|O4||1||10||I-Form Big||4-4 Goalline||Run||3||Iso|
|CGraham(+1) fills the hole, standing up the FB, but eventually gets pushed back; Mendenhall peels off and pushes for a few.|
|CGraham(-1), blitzing as Michigan brings up Adams for a seventh man in the box, takes on the fullback with one shoulder, gets blocked out of the hole, and cedes major yardage to Mendenhall.|
|O14||3||In||I-Form Big||4-4 Goal line||Run||7||Iso|
|Weil picks out a hole on the backside that has two Michigan defenders, Adams and Ezeh(-1) defending it; Ezeh lets Mendenhall slide inside of him and through without so much as slowing down. Englemon comes over to make a saving tackle or this is a 86 yard touchdown.|
|O21||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc + 15||Fly|
|Do you bash Trent for letting this guy get way, way behind him or praise him for having the recovery speed to come back and timing to break this play up? I don't know. If this is thrown longer it's a touchdown, but it's already a 40-yard pass. Trent -1, cover -1, instead of the larger numbers this would have been without the recovery speed. Jamison(-1) with a personal foul.|
|Again they hit a guy in the zone after our LBs vacate for a flare route. Warren tackles immediately.|
|I assume McGee threw this away because he didn't find anyone open. (Cover +1)|
|O41||3||5||I-Form 3-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||1||Option|
|Jamison(+1) gets a good push, forcing an early pitch or cut up decision from McGee; he decides to cut up. Ezeh(+1) shoots through a couple blockers and tackles.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-17, 13 min 4th Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 2-back||Nickel||Run||5||Zone read handoff|
|CGraham(-1) blocked out by the fullback again, paving the way for Mendenhall. Englemon closes down.|
|Williams has time; can't find anyone. (Cover +1). He starts flushing as BGraham(+1) comes around the corner; Crable(+1), coming around the other corner, watches and strips the ball from behind as Juice exits the pocket. (Pressure +1). The Illinois OL falls on it.|
|Pocket holds for Juice, though IMO Jamison is held here and would otherwise be busy sacking the QB. Juice wings it over the head of an open receiver (cover -1).|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-17, 6 min 4th Q.|
|Time(pressure -1), Benn open on a deep post (cover -1); thrown behind and incomplete.|
|Ezeh(-1) and Harrison(-1) read this late; there's no one even close as Mendenhall catches the ball except Trent, who has to keep outside contain.|
|McGee with epic time but no one open (pressure -2, cover +2). He eventually tosses it OOB.|
|In front of Trent; immediate tackle. Fine given score and time.|
|O33||3||1||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||8 (pen)||Slant|
|Ooooh, I don't know about this. To me, this looks excellently timed and not deserving of a flag. (+1, cover +1) Oh. They called it on Harrison... who, yeah, got Benn, as this slant could have been caught by either of two receivers. (-1 Harrison)|
|Good coverage(+1) causes McGee to dump it into the stands. Warren(+1) again.|
|Englemon(+1) jumps up, but gets juked. Mendenhall manages to trip up over his feet... a little lucky.|
|O46||3||7||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Throwaway|
|Illinois has put all its eggs in a thre
e step drop slant that Ezeh(+1) covers(+1) excellently. By the time he comes off to another receiver Illinois' attempted cut blocks have been defeated and Crable(+1) is crushing McGee.
|O46||4||7||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Post|
|Benn open (cover -1); thrown behind him.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 27-17, 2 min 4th Q. Yeah, Warren(+1) runs a fly route and picks off a ball on the lone Illinois play on their final possession, but the game is over here; charting ceases.|
Are you still Mr. Grumpypants?
A little, since visions of Chris Wells doing virtually the same thing Mendenhall did except 30 times instead of 18 dance through my head. Michigan did its share of good things in this game, but many of the Illinois drives were stopped because of the Illini's inherent Juice-ness (or McGee-ness) and can't really be credited to the Michigan defense. That's a logical strategy when you oppose Illinois, I suppose, but it's hard to get excited about it. At this point in the season I'm looking for reasons we will lose or win against Ohio State; this was sort of a non-event in that calculus.
Aw, come on.
Okay, okay. This game does represent a large step forward for the defense compared to the Appalachian State game, as one touchdown drive was a 30-yarder after a long kick return and there was no turnover blizzard to stop Illinois drives before fourth down rolled around. Michigan's safeties are playing at a level we haven't seen in a long time, the cornerbacks have progressed into a strength, and against teams with non-mobile quarterbacks Michigan has been a pass rushing terror. It's a pretty good defense at this point in the year; given Oregon's spectacular demolition of all comers only The Horror stands out as a bad outing. Ron English may be placed on his pedestal once again. Just ignore that ugly crack in the base.
|B. Graham||3||1||2||Not much time with Crable a constant fixture.|
|Ferrara||-||2||-2||Only play of note was the zone read.|
|Thompson||2||1||1||Finally returned; appears to have lost his starting job.|
|Ezeh||5||3||2||Mildly surprised this is positive; don't think he's that much better than CGraham at this point.|
|C. Graham||4||6||-2||Got owned by the Illinois fullback.|
|Harrison||5||2||3||Was excellent on the rare occasions Illinois ran the option.|
|Englemon||2||1||1||The Englemon: 2-1-1.|
|"Pressure"||3||9||-6||Worst day of the year in this category, likely because of contain paranoia.|
|"Coverage"||15||10||5||Excellent day that should offset the fairly meh numbers from the secondary above.|
It often happens that when Michigan is more concerned with a quarterback's legs than his arm the pressure suffers as blitzing is replaced with zone coverage and stunts are replaced with an emphasis on containment. It did pretty well.
Crable was all over the field. His speed at defensive end was extremely useful on zone reads, options, and just plain chasin'; against more dangerous running quarterbacks he never plunged inside on the zone read.
Also, Brandon Harrison was a key actor on the rare occasions Illinois ran the option, shooting into the backfield, but responsible like, on a number of plays that ended up as TFLs.
The secondary as a whole deserves credit for missing few tackles and registering a +5 coverage metric even though Illinois quarterbacks had a lot of time to throw.
Our linebacker play is just not good. Ezeh, like Steve Schilling (who will come in for a tsk-tsk-ing in the offensive UFR), has the dual excuses of youth and position switches; Chris Graham does not. At this point it's not awful, but neither player beat a run block to make a play all game and there were only a couple instances where either one managed to avoid a block and make a play at or around the line of scrimmage. Michigan did an excellent job of containing the outside run with Harrison and Crable, leaving in the inside to the DTs and the LBs. Mendenhall won that battle more often than not and it was only excellent tackling by the secondary that kept him from having a truly prodigious day. (Colin has much more on this in his own niche UFR thing focusing on Ezeh and Graham.)
Also: Taylor and Johnson weren't much more effective against the zone read than they were in the first week of the season. Taylor did make a couple plays, but +2 is a weak day for a DT playing against a lot of interior run plays.
What does it mean for Minnesota?
Hopefully as little as anything else does against what may be the worst BCS team
in the country. Minnesota's offense has been decent so far this year and they run the dread spread, but their redshirt freshman quarterback has been an interception machine. The defenses they've opposed so far are Ohio State and a bunch of slack-jawed yokels; Michigan is closer to the former than the latter these days and should do better than the 20 Indiana gave up.
|Warren is playing off; this is a simple throw and catch. (Cover -1)|
|O45||2||4||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Johnson(+1) makes this play, subtly. They double him momentarily in an attempt to seal him; the guard peels off to go block Graham. But Johnson hasn't been sealed or given any ground and the running back cuts it back inside, where Taylor(+1) has beaten a guy and CGraham can fill, as the guard doesn't have an angle on him.|
|O45||3||4||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||5||Improvisation|
|It appears Michigan is caught off guard, as both Crable and Graham are flat-footed at the snap and end up blitzing from five yards away. Purdue has plenty of time to read and adjust; they pick it up. Crable(+1) literally leaps over the running back who's trying to block him; BGraham(+1) comes around the corner to flush Painter; contain is lost with the linebackers crashing inside and rolls out, finding a guy in front of Trent. Painter's first read covered(+1); pressure -1 for blowing contain and not getting there on a blitz.|
|50||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||-2||Triple option dive|
|Slightly different formation than our usual nickel as Taylor is lined up right over the center's grill. Crable as a standup DE. They motion Bryant into a two-RB look, the run a triple option, handing it off to Dierking. Taylor(+2) busts through the line right into the path of the play, making an unassisted TFL.|
|O48||2||12||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||7||Out|
|Quick rollout from Painter and an out throw in front of a soft Trent. (Cover -1).|
|Dierking motions out; empty look. Coverage(+1) is good; Painter can't find anyone as the pocket collapses around him. Jamison(+1) flushes; BGraham(+1) keeps his head up and reads that Painter's going to take it up the middle, collapsing on him as he nears the LOS. Stick him harder and you get a sack, BG.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 12 min 1st Q. I kind of wish we weren't playing so soft on these little outs, but given Painter's inaccuracy I can see the strategy. I think we'll see similar stuff against Illinois. Zoltan's MIND BULLETS induce the ball to hit a Purdue player; turnover. Why can't these be returned?|
|O40||1||5||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Pass||3||WR screen|
|This is a traditional screen with a couple jab steps from the WR, who then backs off and tries to pick up some blockers. CGraham(+1) reads this and attacks it, tripping up the ballcarrier. Johnson, tracking back, finishes the play.|
|O43||2||2||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||2||Zone read handoff|
|Very aggressive; third time already we've spread a linebacker out and brought up a safety to provide something of a 3-4 look. Corners playing very soft behind it. Adams backs off before the snap. We stunt our way past some zone blocking, forcing Sheets â€“ just entered â€“ to cut back into an unblocked Crable; he cuts up and Taylor(+1) disconnects to tackle. They just manage the first.|
|We're looking at a picture of Chimdi Chekwa instead of Purdue's first down, which is the third time we've missed a play in just six minutes of game action. As we come back Ezeh is slicing into the line to tackle Sheets amongst a host of Michigan defenders.|
|O46||2||9||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||-4||Sack|
|BGraham(+2) comes around the corner lightning quick, raking the ball as Painter attempts to throw and forcing a panicked scramble. Crable(+1) tracks down for a sack more rightly BG's.|
|O42||3||13||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Deep out|
|Crable lined up sort of over a slot receiver; both MLBs threaten blitz; Crable and Harrison come off the corners as the MLBs bail. Painter does get a pass off to a wide open Lymon(cover -2), but it's wide and a difficult catch which is not made. Pressure(+1) from Harrison may have helped painter screw up.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-0, 7 min 1st Q. Fortunate... that was catchable.|
|M5||1||G||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||5||Zone read keeper|
|Crable(-2) gives up contain; easy touchdown once he does.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 6 min 1st Q.|
|Taylor(+1), alert, pushes off his guy and forces him to change his path. Johnson(+1) has backed off and collapsed down into the hole the running back diverts into.|
|O24||2||8||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Run||18||Zone read handoff|
|No stunt; Crable lined up as a standup DT, Purdue runs right at him, doubling him. Yeah; that works. A zone block knocks Crable(-1) out and CGraham(-1) gets blocked downfield, diving at the RB's ankles but missing. Similar play to the NW gashers; this is not a run defense. Sheets fumbles at the end of the run... butt meet bench. Jamison(+1), tracking back downfield, caused the fumble.|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 10-7, 2 min 1st Q. That 3-3-5 is not tenable except on obvious passing downs.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||10||Stop|
|Michigan blitzes; good pickup by the RB and an open, short route prevent it from doing anything. I believe this is zone; Trent's been driven of by a deeper route and has to come up late. He misses the tackle(-1), turning this from five to ten yards. Adams bails him out. Pass caught by "Lywyn Selmon"... uh... (Cover -1)|
|O48||2||In||Ace||Base 4-3||Pass||2||Long handoff|
|Don't mind playing off here; the rewards of playing tight are little and the risks unpleasant. Warren just barely gets a hand on this guy's leg,
slowing him up and allowing others to converge. He's still a very dodgy tackler, which may be relevant against Illinois.
|50||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||7||Zone read PA|
|Fake handoff and a Painter rollout finds Bryant downfield open in front of Ezeh and Adams. (Cover -1). CGraham shot into the backfield on some sort of delayed blitz, but the coverage couldn't give it time to matter.|
|M43||2||3||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Quick out|
|If there was ever a throw that proved Curtis Painter was a poor fit for this offense, this is it. He has a small window to fit this short pass in and wings it wide. Harrison made this kinda difficult; no coverage +/-.|
|M43||3||3||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||3||Zone read handoff|
|Blitzing heavy from the outside. BG, at DT, does a pretty good job of cutting off the intended POA and forcing a cutback, where Englemon tackles. Dierking just stretches out and makes it, as the tackle was from the side. CGraham blown out of the play by a guard, FWIW.|
|M39||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Nickel||Run||-3||Zone right(!!!)|
|This looks like Tecmo Super Bowl when you call the same play as the offense. Why would Purdue ever run this? Previous opponents (ND and PSU) have foolishly tried to shoehorn their offenses into something they were not in order to exploit Michigan's apparent weakness against a shotgun run game; Purdue decides to shoehorn their offense into something Michigan sees every week in practice. Weird. Anyway, Adams(+1) blitzes into this but maintains control; Jamo(+1) slices into the backfield through befuddled zone blockers, and CGraham follows up. Three more Wolverines get there for the dogpile.|
|M42||2||13||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Throwaway|
|BGraham(+1) gets around the corner, forcing Painter to chuck it OOB. (Pressure +2). This guy is a terror.|
|Adams(+1) is a bad position at the snap after faking a blitz and pulling out late; he's quickly outside of Dustin Keller's crossing route and has no chance to make a play on the ball. he realizes this, bails out a little deeper, and focuses on making a tackle, which he does authoritatively.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 13 min 2nd Q. Zoltan's mind bullets force the punt, which lands at the five, to bounce all the way out to the 20.|
|O22||1||10||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel||Run||4||Triple option dive|
|Bryant agains motions into the backfield and Purdue gives a triple option look while handing off to Dierking. Johnson is doubled for a long time and starts giving ground, but the long double lets Ezeh fill unmolested. A cutback behind the late-peeling OL yields a moderate gain.|
|O26||2||6||Shotgun 3-Wide||Base 4-3||Pass||Inc||Out|
|They roll the pocket to buy time; BGraham(+1) works free of the OT and gets a little pressure as Painter approaches the sideline; the throw to Lymon is wide. (Pressure +1)|
|O26||3||6||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Cross|
|Ezeh(+1) blitzes and harries Painter into a quick throw (pressure +1) that's either horribly behind Bryant or horribly in front of Orton.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 9 min 2nd Q.|
|O37||1||10||Ace||Base 4-3||Pen||-5||False Start|
|O32||1||15||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||4||Screen|
|The jab-step screen to Bryant Purdue ran earlier. Englemon(+1) fills immediately, forcing Bryant to delay and allowing the defensive line to recover.|
|O36||2||11||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||9||Zone read PA|
|Goes to Keller, who runs the "fake-block-run-out" route favored by TEs everywhere. CGraham(-1) lets him get open (cover -1); Warren comes up to tackle after a five yard again but whiffs(-1); CGraham whiffs, too, Englemon pushed back and Keller nears first down yardage.|
|O45||3||2||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||1||Zone read handoff|
|Excellent job by Johnson(+1) to get some penetration and cut off the hole, forcing a cutback away from the intended POA. Ezeh(+1) shoots past a potential blocker, combining to tackle with Crable and force a punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 4 min 2nd Q.|
|O10||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||-1||Zone read handoff|
|Well, I guess this is the upside of Crable occasionally being way irresponsible on these: this time they hand it off and he tracks it down in the backfield from the backside. A grudging +1.|
|Meh, if they want four yards here they can have them. They attempted to block Crable with a RB... this is not a good idea.|
|Painter's throw is not good but would probably have been catchable if Adams(+2) hadn't come up and popped Bryant as the ball arrived. The ball pops up into the air; Harrison flags it down and starts running. Recommendation: watch Jamison clock Bryant right at the beginning of the return. He must be thinking "#&*!, didn't that guy get stoned and enter the NFL draft three years ago?" (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 24-7, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|O41||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||-4||Sack|
|Uh... they decide not to block Crable(+1). Unwise. He comes in under control and gets a hand on Painter, forcing him up in the pocket. Taylor's(+1) dropped into a spy zone type thing, reads, attacks, and sacks.|
|Drive Notes: EOH, 31-7, EOH.|
|Harrison(-1) in unblocked but overruns the QB; he scrambles outside, finding no one and tossing it OOB. (Pressure +1, cover +1)|
|O25||2||10 d>||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||Inc||Cross|
|CGraham(-1) gets sucked out of his zone on the middle of the field, leaving this pass to Lymon wide open; Lymon drops it. Another instance where Graham's crappy pass coverage gets bailed out by the opponent failing to execute. (Cover -2) One more second and Crable smashes painter from behind.|
|O25||3||10||Shotgun Trips||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||Inc||Cross?|
|Harrison(+1) in unblocked again â€“ nice blitz pickups, Purdue â€“ as the RB motions out of the backfield. This time he keeps under control, allowing Painter a moment to fire but way inaccurate; BGraham(+1) also got pressure, beating the LT. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-7, 11 min 3rd Q.|
|O20||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||4||Zone read handoff|
|This portly guy named Halliburton now in the game. CGraham(+1) does a good job to fend off a block and close the hole he picks; his momentum and a shot from a Michigan DL closing from behind push him forward for a moderate gain.|
|O24||2||6||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pen||-5||Delay|
|O19||2||11||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||-9 (pen)||Bomb|
|Ezeh, blitzing, gets around the LT and is tackled. Painter steps up and lofts a bomb to Lymon, who's beaten Trent(-1) and Adams(-1), but drops it. Moot point with the penalty. (Pressure +1, Cover -2)|
|O10||2||20||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||2||WR screen|
|Same jab-step screen, this one to Lymon. CGraham(+1) does an excellent job of getting off the downfield block of Sester, the LT, and tackling with help from a backtracking Jamison.|
|O12||3||18||Shotgun 3-Wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||21||Post|
|Michigan gets cute here, with seven guys at or around the LOS and four guys in an umbrella. Two linebackers threaten blitz, then back out after the snap; their zone drops are necessarily pretty shallow given their starting positions and the middle of the field is wide open for a Bryant post. Adams(-1) beaten. (Cover -2)|
|O33||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Run||6||Zone read handoff|
|Very AppSt-esque, this play. Crable flies upfield, taking himself out of the play. Will Johnson(-1) does what we've seen a lot of DTs do against us by ducking behind the block in an attempt to get penetration; he doesn't get to the RB in the backfield. Ezeh(+1) jukes out a guard who got to move to the second level immediately;. his tackle attempt is less than great but he still helped hold this down. A slowed Halliburton is buried after a moderate gain.|
|O39||2||4||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||2||Long handoff|
|Warren(+1) reacts to this quickly and just manages to not screw up the tackle. I'm still pretty leery about his tackling ability, and frankly, this play, but we are a results-based charting service. (Cover +1)|
|Orton open for the first; immediate tackle from Warren.|
|O45||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Pass||18||PA TE Flag|
|A zone read fake gets Warren(-1) to bite; Keller's flag is open at the sidelines. (Cover -1). Stevie Brown in the game.|
|M37||1||10||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Taylor(+1) bursts through the line; a blitzing CGraham(+1) shoots pasts the center before he can get out on him; Ezeh comes in unblocked. Halliburton manages to get back to the LOS.|
|M37||2||10||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||3||Hitch|
|Brown(+1) makes a solid tackle to prevent any YAC after this short completion. (Cover +1)|
|M34||3||7||Shotgun 4-wide||3-3-5 Nickel||Pass||2||Scramble|
|BGraham(+1) around the corner and would have a sack if not for a befuddled Purdue tackle who's been blown back into the pocket turning around and picking him off. Painter takes off. Jamo(+1) keeps him from running upfield long enough for Trent to come up and tackle. (Pressure +1)|
|Purdue stacks wide receivers on both sides of the line. A quick hitch to Orton is open in front of Warren (cover -1); Painter throws it into the turf.|
|Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 34-7, 3 min 3rd Q.|
|Johnson(+2) busts through the line, beating the guard, and hits Painter as he throws. The ball sails right to Adams(+1). (Pressure +1)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 41-7, 14 min 4th Q.|
|O38||1||10||Shotgun 3-Wide||Nickel||Pass||-4 (pen)||Zone read PA|
|Elliot in the game... and he's a little confused. He keeps it after some play action, looks like he's going to scramble for good yardage, and then throws it to Orton after he crosses the LOS. Crable -1 for giving up contain.|
|O34||2||14||Shotgun Trips||Nickel||Run||0||Zone read handoff|
|Slocum(+1) finally in; he sheds a blocker and tackles with the help of a collapsing Patterson.|
|Elliot comes down to a little flare route with no chance for the first. (Cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 48-7, 8 min 4th Q. Garbage time starts now; charting stops.|
We own spread offenses!
If it's Purdue's, yes. I wish I had stuck to my guns in the preview; after saying we would hold down the Boilers in last week's defensive UFR I backed off and predicted 27 points. As it turned out that was close to right, but only by the letter of the law, not the spirit.
How did we do so badly against our first two opponents and then crush Purdue?
Purdue can't run well even normally; in this game they were missing starting RB Jaycen Taylor, benched Korey Sheets for fumbling all the time, brought him in for about two carries, one of which he fumbled, and benched him again. The leftovers were true freshman Dan Dierking (he's white! Think Sam McGuffie without the hurdling, yards, and touchdowns) and some bowling-ball type named Halliburton. Michigan has always played
boa constrictor against one-dimensional offenses, and this was one.
But there are obvious improvements: Taylor and Johnson were much more effective in this game than they were against Appalachian State; this is unlikely to be an effect of playing against weaker competition, no offense to the Apps. Brandon Graham has returned from injury/suspension to become the best player on the defense. Englemon is good, Sears is gone, and the coverage is improving. They are getting better; this is not a mirage.
Does Shawn Crable have to give up contain on the zone read twice a game? I mean, is it in a contract or something? My theory is this: Jim Tressel kidnapped him and wouldn't let him go unless he promised to never, ever make sure if the quarterback has the ball before motoring after the running back.
Uh. My theory is that Michigan defensive ends might be coached to do this. Adam Patterson did it on the last drive I charted, too. That seems crazy, and Crable has kept contain a couple times, but it would seem to be the easiest thing in the world to get down: "if you are unblocked on the backside of a shotgun running play, check to see if the QB has the ball before freaking out and collapsing." And yet. The only two touchdowns the Michigan first string have given up in the past two weeks have come off of QB keepers that Crable freaked out about and lost contain on.
Suggestion for Illinois: STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT.
I mean, look at the--
|Johnson||5||1||4||Got a nice interior pass rush, forcing a pick.|
|Taylor||7||1||6||Much more effective against a spread run game than earlier in the year.|
|B. Graham||8||-||8||Didn't actually pick up a sack but caused a lot of incompletions and generally owned Purdue tackles all day. Gooooood.|
|Crable||4||4||0||More crashing down, giving up contain... twice today. Cannot do that against Illinois.|
|Ezeh||3||-||3||Much better day than against EMU; made a couple plays and didn't blow anything in particular.|
|C. Graham||4||3||1||Hey! It's positive! I'll take it. Blew up a couple screens. Still not so hot in zone drops.|
|Trent||-||2||-2||Got beat deep by Lymon, though it didn't matter in the end.|
|Adams||4||2||2||Our safeties seem okay of late. Knock on wood.|
|Brown||1||-||1||Had some extensive troubles in garbage time, IIRC.|
|"Pressure"||11||1||10||Combined with the run numbers an indication that Michigan dominated what was supposed to be a pretty good offensive line.|
|"Coverage"||6||14||-8||Strategy was probably to lay back and watch Purdue eff it up; it worked.|
Crable is the only guy in the front seven -- though we play a base nickel these days we rotate four guys on the DL -- to have a non-positive score and the only DL to have a non wildly positive score, mostly because he lost three points on this contain stuff. Go figure.
The rest of it: the defensive line crushed a fairly veteran and supposedly pretty good Purdue OL; the linebackers were a positive, too. And while the secondary took a step back from the past couple weeks that may have been a tactical decision. Aside from the Lymon bomb, a Keller flag and that disappointing third and eighteen conversion, anything Purdue wanted was in the Jimmah Clausen wheelhouse: four yards downfield. Given Painter's inaccuracy and the lack of a Purdue run game, Michigan could play off, cut off the big play, and wait for the Boilers to screw up or a defensive lineman to tear Painter's head off. This is the kind of team bend-but-don't-break works on: a crappy one.
Purdue's left tackle is still looking for Brandon Graham. The rest of the DL, save Crable, also goes here. They were unstoppable.
No one was outright bad today; even Chris Graham hopped above 0.
What does it mean for Illinois?
To reiterate the above: for the love of God, Crable/whoever, maintain contain on the quarterback.
Past that, Iowa shut Illinois down by sitting in their base 4-3, playing zone, and getting excellent contributions from the cornerbacks against the option. Result: 6 points for the Illini. We seem married to this nickel against the spread and will probably not mimic that style of play exactly but I would expect something similar: bend, don't break, get Illinois in long yardage situations, and get them off the field. I would rather keep two safeties deep and play the corners tight with an eye on defending the option than bring up another guy in the box and play soft.
Video clip problems? Try VLC.
|We fake zone left; Purdue bites like a mofo. Didn't they watch the EMU game? The SLB here â€“ nominally the guy supposed to cover Butler â€“ bites so hard it must be seen to be believed. Henne has an easy pitch and catch for a first down. (CA, 3)|
|M34||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|...I think. The BTN is showing us the starting lineups as this play snaps.|
|You've got to be kidding me. You just #*$&ed it up on the last play, and you do it again? Get with the program, BTN.|
|Henne checks down to a covered Arrington, who gets blown up as the ball gets there. Should have dumped off to Hart or done something other than this. (BR, 1, protection 2/2). Ortmann picks up an illegal hands to the face; declined.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 10 min 1st Q. Question: do you take this penalty? Michigan would be in third and twenty-four on its 20 and is likely to draw or screen or something. You're probably picking up field position here and the chance of actually giving up a first down is miniscule, especially because Michigan is unlikely to even try for one.|
|Purdue with basically eight in the box, or as near as I can tell since the BTN is using a crazy camera angle. Manningham open against zone; Michigan takes the short completion. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Fullback shuffle results in a safety charging to the line at the snap. Oops. Henne sets and fires to the corner of the endzone, where Manningham is open by yards. Very reminiscent of last year's ND game. Oh, parabolas, welcome back. (DO, 3, protection 2/2) Replay reveals that Vinson slowed up inexplicably â€“ we did have a quasi-draw fake here with Moundros plowing a middle linebacker like he was a lead blocker â€“ and allowing prodigious separation.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 9 min 1st Q.|
|M9||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|BTN just barely gets to the play before the snap as we linger lovingly over Joe Tiller's visage. Purdue has eight in the box; Avril attacks off the snap, forcing Long(-1) back and occupying McLaurin; it's bad when a DE occupies two guys. Wait... what? This is Mark Ortmann getting driven back as Long moves to the second level. This is an unbalanced line with Carson Butler playing RT, and Ortmann as a strongside TE. Weird. Kraus(-1) can't get any push on his block and there's nowhere for Hart to go.|
|Oh, my God, it's unbelievable how often the BTN screws up down and distance. This is all on Carson Butler(-3), who lets his man go by and strip Henne as he prepares to throw. No chance for Henne here. (PR, 0, protection 0/3)|
|Drive Notes: Fumble, 7-0, 6 min 1st Q.|
|M32||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||5||Arrington||Quick out|
|Purdue brings an extra guy in the box; corners playing a little soft but react quickly enough to prevent any YAC. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M37||2||5||Ace Trips||Pass||5||Manningham||Bubble screen|
|Fairly predictable play here; the corner starts attacking as Henne starts his motion. We need some plays that punish that aggresiveness. Anyway, Arrington does a good job of holding the corner off and Manningham gets first down yardage. (CA, 3)|
|Eight in the box for the Boilers; they send five and it's picked up. Henne checks off, checks off, and comes to his third read, firing it in for a first down. McLaurin nearly drops it, but holds on. Excellent senior play from Henne. (DO, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O47||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||14||Hart||Inside zone|
|Seven in the box, obvious zone from Purdue. This is not a stretch, but an inside zone play that we've run occasionally. They key is on the nominal backside of the play: Kraus shoves the backside DT, then immediately releases to the second level. Long slants inside, getting in front of the DT and sort of sumo-ing him downfield. Butler manages to control the backside DE. Crease, secondary, Hart go.|
|O33||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||9||Hart||Zone counter|
|-ish. This is our play where we run what looks like a standard zone right but shoot the fullback at the backside DE. (Or LB in this 3-4 look from Purdue.) Long(+1) bursts off the ball, sealing the DE immediately. Boren(+1) drives the NT downfield; when Hart cuts back there's a major lane. NCAA-esque spin move gets him near the first down.|
|O24||2||1||I-Form Twins||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Sometimes I think our scheme puts too much emphasis on getting out to the second level, and this is a good example. We're running a zone left and Schilling mostly ignores the weakside DT, leaving Ortmann an impossible block. He does okay, getting enough of a shove to keep the DT from getting past the LOS, but all he can do is escort the guy to Hart. Hart decides "eff it," and bowls right through him for the first, but I think we sould have been much better served if Schilling had helped out on this guy and allowed Hart to explot what was otherwise a pretty big frontside hole.|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Eight in the box. Grumble. This would have worked anyway â€“ I think this play is designed to go outside â€“ except for shoddy blocking by both McLaurin(-1)
and Butler(-1). Butler's working with Long on a DE and they allow him to get to the outside; McLaurin just loses control of his guy. A delay allows linebackers to converge after a small gain.
|Purdue tips a double blitz from the right side of the line and comes with it anyway; Michigan picks it up. With time, Henne fires for Mathews; TV makes this look like an awful decision but from my vantage point in the stadium â€“ right on line with the throw â€“ he clearly had Mathews open and just missed. (IN, 0, protection 3/3)|
|A delayed corner blitz gets in unblocked as Long(-1) fails to read it and Hart moves too quickly to the other side of the line(-1). This was max-pro, too. Bleah! (PR, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG (34), 10-7, 3 min 1st Q. Hurray for not quite as crappy kicker.|
|O37||1||10||Ace||Pass||26||Manningham||Out & up|
|Eight in the box with really soft corners. Manningham runs a little out and up; the short zone guys get nowhere near deep enough â€“ sucked up by the Arrington drag and one safety is trying to cover about two and half routes. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O11||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||11||Hart||Zone left|
|Not well blocked at all; Schilling falls down and gets no cut on the DT, who falls anyway, then falls again as he tries to get up. Meanwhile, the WLB splits Ortmann and Boren, grabbing Hart around the ankles. Hart falls on a prone OL, spins up, and waltzes into the endzone. I heart Hart. Hmmm. On replay, I take back part of the blocked poorly: Kraus(+2) owns the frontside DT here, pancaking him and creating the room Hart exploits; even if he fell down where hit he would have had six. (Replay)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 17-7, 1 min 1st Q. Lots of short drives in this game.|
|Schilling(-2) cannot get a block on the weakside DT; a late-blitzing safety blows past Moundros(-1); Hart is splattered.|
|M18||2||12||Ace 3-wide||Run||7||Hart||Zone left|
|Excellent job by Long(+1) and Kraus(+1) to seal the outside; Long has momentary help from a Butler brush block; Butler then moves out to a cornerback and whiffs(-1), forcing Hart back inside where a a tracking safety can haul him down.|
|Purdue threatens blitz, bailing out at the last second; the nickelback starts jumping a Manningham slant, opening up a spot for Arrington. Oddly, Butler is in the same area â€“ missed route? -- but no matter. Henne's throw is an ugly duck Arrington has to dig out, but he does. (CA-, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Batted by a leaping Avril after Ortmann had stoned him near the LOS. (BA, 0, protection 2/2).|
|M36||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Don't like this. Purdue is heavily slanted towards the left side of the line and has an extra guy in the box with the corners playing soft. Result: DT slashing through line with both Boren(-1) and Kraus(-1) pivoting to try and do something about it, unblocked guys in the hole that mess creates, and a fortunate few yards.|
|Ortmann beaten to the inside by Avril, forcing Henne to chuck a dumpoff to Mathews from his back foot. This looked like interference live, but on replay it's an excellent play from the DB. (CA, 0, protection 0/2, Ortmann -2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 17-7, 10 min 2nd Q.|
|This is atrocious: another missed play. We come back just as Manningham is getting an end-around. It's wide open; Manningham scoots down the sideline, picking up a killer block from Arrington(+1) and getting a first down.|
|M47||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|Shuffle; run against it(!). The strongside DT shoots behind Kraus but when that happens and there's no penetration from LBs or DEs on the frontside if the DT does not get Hart there's a bunch of room; here he's not even close. Boren(+1) does a good job on the backside guy; Moundros(-1) can't cut a weakside blitzer, who collapses on Hart after a nice gain.|
|O48||2||5||Ace Twins||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|I dislike these playcalls where we motion in Arrington to essentially play a third tight end. Purdue loads up with eight guys in the box and a cornerback in zone looming over the short side of the field. Doesn't really matter as Kraus(-1) is blown back into Hart's path, causing him to stumble, and a couple yards is all he can make.|
|O47||3||4||Ace 3-wide||Pass||12||Mathews||Er... out-slant|
|I bet this route has a name, but I am not aware of it: Mathews comes in motion to the top side of the screen, creating a bunch of three wide receivers; he runs what looks like an out route before cutting it back inside, making this slant-ish. Henne slings it to him with perfect timing. (CA+, 3, protection 2/2)|
|This is incredibly wide open with the corners playing in Lake Michigan. Arrington runs an out, makes the easy catch, then beats a late-filling safety for a few more yards and a first down. (CA, 3)|
|O23||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pen||-5||Butler||False Start|
|Not actually Butler's fault; Manningham lined up on the LOS.|
|Corner blitz runs right past Hart; since the DE to the same side has gotten inside of Ortmann it's an easy decision to take it outside, which is wide open. Boren(+1) got out on the middle linebacker; lots of room.|
|O14||2||1||I-Form Big||Run||2||Hart||Zone right|
|Boren(-1) lets his man penetrate dangerously; Butler also shoved back into a poor position. We've flipped the tack
les on this play, so Long is on the frontside and Ortmann the weak. The frontside penetration doesn't matter because Kraus(+1), Ortmann(+1), and Moundros(+1) have all cut their guys to the ground. Hart leaps over the mess for a first down.
|O12||1||10||Ace Big||Run||3||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren just barely keeps his guy under control long enough for Hart to pass by; Schilling has no angle on the MLB and can't get a block; Hart can't cut back as Ortmann(-1) has missed his cut on the backside DE. There's a crease for a few yards until Hart meets the MLB.|
|O9||2||7||Ace Big||Run||9||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(+1) gets control of the DT, stalemates him at the line, and seals him away from Hart, though the frontside gets all jammed up. Ortmann(+1) and Schilling(+1) cut the weakside DT and the MLB to the ground â€“ nice job by Schilling on the second level â€“ and Hart springs through the gap into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-7, 6 min 2nd Q.|
|Again with the Arrington tight motion; Purdue has eight in the box with the lurking corner again. Boren's supposed to move out to the second level but the MLB comes to him; he does a decent enough job. There is a bit of daylight between him and Kraus; Schilling's(-1) guy runs down the line and tackles after a small gain.|
|M25||2||7||Ace 3-wide||Run||-6 (pen)||Hart||Draw|
|Schilling(+1) escorts the DT upfield; big gap up the middle; Moundros is nominally lined up at TE and plunges inside, stoning the MLB. Butler's got the OLB... sort of; he gets inside but Hart manages to get around him. Arrington(+1) does a great job on the corner; big yardage. Holding called on Boren... but no, not really. They screwed up the number. It's actually 85, Butler(-1), who gets the call. You can tell because they march off from four yards downfield; Boren never got downfield.|
|Primary threats are covered, so Henne comes down to his outlet. Great protection. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|Arrington just in front of a couple defenders; Henne waited just long enough to get him open, throwing just as the defensive ends got free. Nice blitz pickup from Hart. (CA+, 3, protection 3/3)|
|M38||1||10||I-Form Twins||Run||8||Hart||Inside zone|
|Hart decides to cut back behind Boren's okay block. On the backside, Kraus(+1) and Long(+1) have done the same double they executed previously where Kraus first explodes into the DT, knocking him back a bit, and Long picks it up from there. The guy ends up on his butt three yards downfield as Kraus is pounding a linebacker on the second level.|
|M46||2||2||Ace 3-wide||Run||0||Hart||Inside zone|
|Ortmann(-1) just escorts his man down the line to Hart; Long and Butler have had their double split, causing Long(-1) to peel off when it's Butler who should do so; Butler has no angle to block the OLB; the two meet at Hart at the LOS. Hart limps off and 110,000 people want to die.|
|M46||3||2||Ace Big||Run||0||Minor||Zone left|
|Kraus(-1) blown back, but we actually crease Purdue pretty well here save for the corner in man against the tight end â€“ Purdue has a no-BS 9 in the box this time â€“ who is unblocked and tackles at the LOS. This was a good day from Debord, but this playcall is truly inexplicable. It would be weird even with Hart in the game â€“ why do we insist on playing our crappy second-string TE and our meh fullback instead of our good receivers? With our kinda mediocre backup it's really, really weird.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 24-7, 1 min 2nd Q. Really bizarre.|
|O21||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||21||Manningham||Braylonian Fly|
|Henne drops back and lofts it up to Manningham, who cuts in front of the defensive back and leaps to take it away. Eerily reminiscent of one of the Braylon TDs against MSU in that exact corner of that exact endzone. Personally, I think we should be throwing this ball to Arrington all the time. Not sure how to chart this... is this a bad throw? A popup up for grabs? How to evaluate the catch here? Uh... (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 31-7, 1 min 2nd Q.|
|M25||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||-1||Minor||Zone right|
|Boren(-1) driven back; Long(-1) escorts his man to the ballcarrier; Minor has to go outside, where an unblocked linebacker awaits.|
|Checks down to Moundros open underneath. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|M30||3||5||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||7||Manningham||Delayed slant|
|Accurate-ish, but a little low. The pass takes Manningham off his feet, preventing YAC, but does go for a first. (CA-, 2, protection 2/2)|
|M37||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||7||Minor||Zone right|
|Running against seven in the box. Boren and Ortmann(-1) have trouble again â€“ Avril nearly makes a four-yard TFL. Minor cuts it all the way back across the formation, outrunning a linebacker to the corner. The LB dives and gets a hand on his foot, tripping Minor up after a nice gain. Minor limps off.|
|M44||2||3||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Schilling's(-1) block is ineffectual; so is Kraus's(-1); the two DTs collapse on Brown.|
|M45||3||2||Ace Big||Run||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Again we allow Purdue to stack the line with nine guys and run straight at theim. This is a long two yards, too, with our third-string back in the game. Linebackers slash into the backfield and there's nowhere to go.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 31-7, 11 min 3rd Q. I really don't get this packing the line thing. One of our big weaknesses going into the year was depth at TE/FB and our starting TE is out for the year. So what do we do? Use three at a time. Other than one Hart touchdown, it's been a disaster.|
|Purdue with eight in the box and soft corners. Manningham just runs and Henne flings it up there and it lands right in his hands right in stride; excellent coverage from the CB here, just nothing he could do about it except make it a slightly more difficult catch. (DO, 2, protection 2/2). Can I complain about the playcall here? I mean... they're ten yards off; we've done this a lot this year and Henne's thrown a lot of interceptions. Without a perfect throw two Purdue players have shots at this ball.|
|I think we tip this by putting Arrington tight to the end of the line and running that direction. Both backside linebackers jump and slant hard, getting to the playside of second level blockers Boren and Ortmann. Brown waits for the play to develop, finally choosing to cut up behind Long when Kraus knocks his man over, but the two linebackers meet him for a minimal gain.|
|O24||2||9||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Arrington||Quick out|
|Weird protection scheme that lets the defensive end in unblocked and has Brown pick him up. Would rather have Long block that guy, kthx. Is this blitz pickup for dummies? You just tell Brown to block the DE, shift the protection right, and let the more experienced guys on the line decide what to do. Downside: Brown against a DE. It gets Henne hit on this three-step drop (yay, Ortmann cut Avril: no batted passes.) Pass is on the money. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1)|
|Max pro and no one is open. Henne bombs it out of the endzone... probably a throwaway as Manningham was covered. (TA, 0, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(35), 34-7, 9 min 3rd Q.|
|M33||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||9||Manningham||WR Screen|
|We motion Butler out to a pair of WRs at the top of the formation; I say "screen"; we run that screen. Purdue totally unprepared for it even though whenever we run the TE out there it's a screen; Manningham gets outside the linebacker and goes for good yardage. (CA, 3)|
|M42||2||1||I-Form Twins||Run||7||Brown||Zone left|
|Schilling(+1) cuts the backside DT; he falls. There's mass of humanity on the frontside, so Brown cuts it up behind Boren and Kraus. A linebacker grabs Brown's feet as he bursts through the line.|
|M49||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Manningham||Zone PA Screen|
|Okay. I complain about a lack of creativity all the time; this is probably the most hypocritical thing in the world. But we've never shown this play before... it's a zone left fake that turns into a long handoff. And it should work beautifully as the corner to that side jets in as soon as he sees the line move. But why are we debuting this with two minutes left in the third quarter of a game we lead by 27? Manningham drops it, BTW. (CA, 3)|
|Crappy read by Brown, who has a ton of room if he cuts it outside Boren; instead he runs up into linebackers. Mike Hart would never do this. Mike Hart would gain 15 on this play and bake peanut butter cookies while doing it.|
|Fired into not much space; Arrington hit as the ball gets there; no problem. (CA+, 2, protection 1/1)|
|FB shuffle. Nothing special here; no real hole but no penetration, either. Brown follows Moundros for a few.|
|O37||2||7||???||Pass||8||Manningham||Zone PA Screen|
|The sixth play the BTN fails to show us most of. This is the same screen Manningham just dropped â€“ you can tell because long is out there trying to help out on what looks like a WR screen; Manningham jukes the corner and fights for good yardage. (CA, 3)|
|Another cutback run for Brown keyed by the backside DT getting chopped to the ground. This time it's Kraus(+1); Boren gets out on the MLB after helping Schilling(+1) with his excellent zone block. Brown shoots up between them and is into the secondary, setting up Mathews nicely to get from the 10 into the endzone. A lot faster than Hart, yes.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 41-7, 14 min 4th Q. We should have put Hart's jersey on Brown for those Heisman stats.|
|Henne in the game... why? Well covered by Purdue. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|A pretty good run by Brown here with a quick, decisive cut up into the second level, where he meets an unblocked linebacker. His momentum (and some help from Long â€“ also inexplicably still in the game) carries him for another four.|
|I do still hate these calls on third and short; Purdue shoots guys into every gap except one, as the backside DT again gets cut, this time by Ortmann(+1). Brown manages to squeeze forward for the first down.|
|Purdue in a 3-4 look with a NT right over Boren. Schilling(-1) and Boren(-1) double him, both doing a crappy job. They get split; a blitzing linebacker and Moundros collide a couple yards in the backfield; the LB wins; Brown is swallowed whole.|
|Brown really needs to cut behind Schilling here like he did on some previous plays; the backside DE is charging hard and may track him down but Schilling's guy is beating him to the outside so when you continue outside you get thumped.|
|Butler delays, then releases out to the sideline after the WRs clear out the zone; Henne checks down to him. Butler evades one tackle and squeezes down to the 13, making an extra seven yards and letting Michigan go for it. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O13||4||1||Ace Big||Run||12||Brown||Zone left|
|This is all Long(+2) blowing his guy off the ball.|
|O1||1||G||Ace Big||1||Brown||Zone left|
|Same play; Kraus gets beaten and thrown back but the first tackle attempt can't bring Brown down and he falls into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 48-7, 10 min 4th Q. Charting ceases here; it's Potempa time.|
Yeah, no kidding.
Rock rock rock rock?
Much less so. First down breakdown:
- 11 passes for 151 yards.
- 20 runs for 108 yards.
It was a more balanced than that early; once the second half rolled around Michigan was heavily run-biased. Also, Henne mentioned a couple of incorrect checks early when he would see an opportunity for a run and Purdue would check into an eight-man front late. All told, this was the most balanced and aggressive gameplan of the year.
Purdue had Michigan's attention and the playcalling reflected that. I hope the staff won't curl up in a ball, figuring that a road night game against a team with a potentially crappy offense is a good time to call the Avalanche, especially given what appears to be a serious weakness in the secondary.
This, of course, is the occasionally frustrating part of the DeBord oeuvre: when there is a near 50-50 mix of run pass and Michigan is truly taking what the defense gives them, things like 48 points happen and things like the chart below happen and everything is very nice and it's like "finally, they will learn" and then they totally don't. Sometimes stuff like the Henne fumble happens, but the rewards are, in many situations, worth the risks.
I would also like to note something for the "possess the ball" freaks out there: Michigan didn't actually do a good job of possessing the ball, many times scoring quickly on a long completion or via the help of a long completion, other times picking up a single first down and then punting. The turnovers distorted this a bit, but Michigan had a whopping nine first-half possessions, which is as many as they had in the entire Eastern Michigan game. Purdue's style of offense helped Michigan out immensely by failing and failing quickly, allowing Michigan to assert their superiority.
This may give some insight into why Purdue seems so helpless against the better teams on their schedule: when things go wrong for the Boilers they go wrong quickly. Purdue has a lot of 45 second drives and their opponents get a ton of cracks at what's been a shaky defense the past few years. The results are halftime scores like 31-7 instead of 16-8 and little chance to steal victories in ugly, close-scoring games. On the other hand, when things are going well they go well quickly and scores balloon the other direction.
Charts. I've separated out Mallett and Henne on the Hennemallettchart. Results:
Obviously an outstanding day from Henne of the sort we all dreamed of in the preseason. No ugly interceptions on horrible reads -- the one ball Purdue could have picked up was inaccurate, not a bad idea -- and only two mistakes that can be blamed on the QB all day. Michigan can beat anyone in the country if Henne plays like that regularly... a brief glimpse up at The Horror indicates that is no slam dunk. Still, there is nothing to criticize; that was an All-American performance.
Protection: 35/42. Butler -3, Long -1, Hart -1, Ortmann -2.
One drop, that when Manningham's eyes got big on that zone PA screen we inexplicably debuted late in the third quarter, and a couple catches in the "1" category. A near-perfect day from this unit as well.
The Hart Chart went up on like Sunday or Monday or something ridiculous like that. Long still dominant; Boren rebounded from a tough outing or two; Schilling is approaching neutral as well. Note that this week's chart does not include Brown's carries, unfortunately.
Yeah, so how about Carlos Brown?
He seems like the exact opposite of Hart: a guy with questionable vision and little in the way of moves who has the speed to jet into the endzone if you give him a crease (and he sees it). The questionable vision could be due to inexperience -- he spent the spring at defensive back, then broke his hand -- and might develop in the future; Hart-like moves are not likely to. His two slashing touchdown runs were encouraging and he seems much less likely to get decapitated by a charging safety than Minor; he'll have a shot at the job next year. We're likely to see a four- or even five-headed rotation early.
What was the deal with all those tight formations?
Hell if I know. Several times we loaded up with two tight ends plus a fullback and plowed into the line with little success; on a couple other instances we motioned in Arrington and gave Purdue the same look. Also little success, as Purdue shoved eight and nine men to the LOS and sold out against it. I'm repeating myself from the table, but any formation that takes Arrington or Manningham off the field in favor of Chris McLaurin is probably a bad idea. The threat of those two guys virtually forces opponents to keep a safety back or play soft on the corners, loosening up the front. I don't think Michigan should singlehandedly combat spacing out
One oddity worth noting: Michigan seems to screw around with some new toy in every game, then shelve it. Against Oregon it was the TE-pull counter zone. Against EMU it was a twins set that covers up the TE. Against Purdue it was this tight formation. (Nothing of note happened in the Notre Dame, Penn State, or Northwestern games, likely because Mallett was starting and the playbook was restricted.) I miss the TE pull, which gave Michigan's run game misdirection and had an excellent suite of play action plays off of it from the fake-block TE drag to the TE actually blocking down on the DE, allowing Henne time to look for some deeper routes on the waggle. This other stuff not so much.
Pick someone. Henne, probably.
Carson Butler was responsible for getting Henne hit on the fumble, picked up a holding penalty on a Hart draw, and had a few other instances of shoddy blocking. (His false start was not his fault, however.)
What does it mean for Illinois?
Illinois, like Michigan, has thrived on turnovers in their wins and may not be that good defensively. One definite trend:
That's 6.6 YPA, 7.8 YPA, and 8.0 YPA against one good quarterback and two mediocre-at-best ones. They've gotten to the QB a lot -- 14th in sacks -- but the secondary looks ripe for the picking. Even last week's opponent, Jake Christensen did 17-25, 182, 1 TD. That's 7.3 YPA. Meanwhile, the rushing defense is 27th and did a decent job against PJ Hill (4 YPC) and a heavily utilized Iowa attack (also 4 YPC). More passing seems the order of the day.
Simple equation: protect Henne and light up the scoreboard.